Taped inside a big wooden door at the top of Shawn Marion's locker, above the flat screen television and DVD player, is a piece of paper that contains a scouting report detailing the superlatives of Marion's game.

At the top of the list, in clear, capital letters, it reads: "LOCK-DOWN DEFENDER."

And the Trail Blazers don't need a scouting report to attest to that.

Before Game 1 of the best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series between the Blazers and Dallas Mavericks, the matchup seemed to be even, right down to the team's dueling superstars at power forward and aging but still effective point guards. The one area the Blazers seemed to have an edge was at small forward with All-Star Gerald Wallace.

But Marion has neutralized that advantage. With a mix of in-your-face tenacity and physical will, Marion has been at the forefront of a stout Dallas defense that has stymied Wallace through five games in the series, helping propel the Mavericks to a 3-2 lead after Monday night's 93-82 victory at American Airlines Center.

"There's no way I'm going to let someone go for a real huge night," Marion said, summing up the one and only goal he carries into every game he plays.

Wallace and the Blazers have learned this the hard way. After averaging 19.1 points per game and shooting 53.6 percent from the field over the final 13 games of the regular season, Wallace has been a no-show in the postseason, averaging an even-quieter-than-it-sounds 11.8 points per game and committing a team-high 14 turnovers. He shooting 40 percent from the field (20-for-50) and 18 percent from three-point range (2-for-11).

Wallace was the force behind a stunning stretch run by the Blazers that sewed up the No. 6 seed in the West, showcasing fearless drives, timely shooting and a penchant for finishing on the fast break. Before he arrived, the Blazers were 1-7 against the top four teams in the Western Conference. With him in the fold, the Blazers went 6-2 against the same teams.