Nowitzki, West lead Mavs past Blazers, 97-94

Nowitzki, West lead Mavs past Blazers, 97-94
Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla, left, looks for an outlet pass as he pulls in a rebound against Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, April 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and nine rebounds, Delonte West added 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 97-94 on Friday night.

Shawn Marion had 17 points and 14 rebounds for defending champion Dallas, which has a 1 1/2-game lead over Denver and Houston for the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Brandan Wright added 13 points and eight rebounds.

Nicolas Batum had 20 to lead the Blazers, Jamal Crawford scored 18 and Wesley Matthews had 15 points and seven rebounds.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead and held Portland at a comfortable distance for 3 1/2 quarters. Dallas was up by 24 points in the third and 16 points with less than four minutes to go in the game.

However, Portland put together a 19-5 run to pull to 93-89 with less than a minute remaining. Nowitzki then knocked in two free throws and Wright finished a fast break with a dunk to put the game away. Matthews made a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Coming off a win at Golden State on Thursday night, the Mavericks have won the first two on their four-game road trip. With the playoffs approaching, Dallas' 39-year-old point guard Jason Kidd was inactive for the game to give him a rest.

Portland's playoff hopes have all but evaporated after the team announced on Thursday that All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge would need arthroscopic surgery on his hip and would be shut down for the rest of the season. Aldridge was eighth in the league in scoring at 21.7 points per game. J.J. Hickson started in place of Aldridge for the second straight game and had 13 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double in three games.

Dallas jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held a 30-16 advantage after the first quarter. West scored to make it 38-18 early in the second. Batum scored 10 points in short order, keying a 21-7 Portland run to cut the lead to 45-39, but the Mavericks closed out the half with their own 11-2 run.

Dallas opened up the third on another run and eventually led 79-55.

NOTES: The Mavericks have held opponents to 100 points or fewer in all but 14 games this season. ... Portland finishes its regular-season home schedule on Wednesday. The Blazers are 20-12 at the Rose Garden this season. ... It was the Mavericks' first visit to Portland since Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs last year, which Dallas won to clinch the series en route to the NBA championship.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.