Guard Rolando Blackman took charge late in the second quarter and scored 25 points to carry the Mavericks to a 101-93 victory over the Utah Jazz in the opener of their best-of-five NBA playoff series last night in Dallas.
Blackman, scoreless until 5:55 left in the first half, scored 12 of the Mavericks' final 16 points of the half.
He scored eight points in the third quarter and made Dallas' first field goal in the fourth period after a drought of almost six minutes when the Mavaricks were living off free throws. Blackman also made three free throws and contributed a steal late in the fourth period.
Utah, playing without leading scorer Adrian Dantley, who is out with back spasms, was led by rookie Karl Malone with 23 points and Bobby Hansen with 15. Mark Aguirre had 15 points for Dallas and Sam Perkins had 15 rebounds.
Dallas hit 28 of 30 free throws before the sellout crowd of 17,007.
The second game of the series is Sunday night in Reunion Arena.
*Bucks 119, Nets 107: In Milwaukee, Craig Hodges scored 22 of his 25 points in the first half and Paul Pressey scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the Bucks defeated New Jersey in the first game of their playoff series.
The Bucks opened the fourth quarter with a 10-2 streak to go ahead, 96-86, with 8:05 left on two foul shots by Pressey. The Nets never got closer than five points after that as the Bucks' defense forced critical New Jersey turnovers.
Buck Williams led New Jersey with 27 points, Otis Birdsong had 24 and Albert King 19.
*Nuggets 133, Trail Blazers 126: Forward Calvin Natt scored a career-high 40 points and center Danny Schayes, in a rare start, added 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Denver over visiting Portland in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.
Game 2 in the series will be played here Sunday.
Alex English, despite an off shooting night, scored 30 points for the winners.
Kiki Vandeweghe led Portland with 28 points and Mychal Thompson, who sat out much of the second half with five fouls, had 24. Clyde Drexler, also hampered by foul trouble, finished with 20 points for the Trail Blazers.