The Brooklyn Nets have defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 116-112. The Nets improve to 30-14, good for 2nd in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Trail Blazers fall to 25-18, good for 6th in the Western Conference.
Turnovers and allowing offensive rebounds plagued the Nets early, giving them a 13-10 deficit at the 6:52 mark of the first quarter. Before this, Bruce Brown exited at the 8:51 mark of the first quarter with an eye injury, but would return just minutes later. Following the Brown injury, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum got hot from the field early, making some of their three point scores look effortless. Enes Kanter, known to be a Nets killer, was a problem early. He was killing the Nets on the boards and in the paint, with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in just the first quarter.
Jeff Green was feeling it early, with 10 first quarter points, including two 3 pointers. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot brought an early spark off the bench, with 8 first quarter points and 3 assists, while shooting 3 for 3 from the field, including 2 for 2 from 3. Despite Brooklyn shooting 62% from the field, 13 for 21, the Trail Blazers led 41-37 at the end of the quarter.
The Nets went on a 7-0 run early in the second quarter, to take a 44-43 lead. Portland came storming back after going behind, going an 8-0 run late in the quarter to take a 60-54 lead, forcing a Steve Nash timeout. James Harden was of course dishing out dime after dime, reaching 7 assists. Brooklyn was clearly killing Portland in the paint, outscoring them 34-12 in the first half. Joe Harris was very efficient in the first half, shooting 3 for 4 from three. Fun fact, Harris leads the NBA in 3 point percentage since the 2017-18 season, shooting 44.9%, ahead of Joe Ingles, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and J.J. Redick. Undoubtedly, Harris is one of the best, if not the best 3 point shooter in the NBA.
Next, Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. exited the game at the end of the half, with a forearm injury. However, he would return in the second half, not missing any time. Overall, the game went back and forth throughout the whole half, with their being 15 lead changes and 9 ties. Finally, Portland led 66-65 at halftime.
For the Nets to take the lead and finish out the game, they will first need to defend the 3 point line better. Furthermore, they will need to take better care of the basketball. Portland shot 12 of 29 from three in the first half and scored 10 points off the Nets turnovers. They are still in the game because of their three pointers made and their points scored off Brooklyn’s turnovers. Additionally, the Nets will need to continue outrebounding Portland. Brooklyn outrebounded Portland 29-19 in the half.
In the third quarter, it was more of the same story as the first half. Brooklyn and Portland exchanged baskets and leads throughout the whole quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Nets led 92-91.
A 8-2 Nets run to start the quarter with no Harden on the floor gave them a 100-93 lead. This forced a Portland timeout at the 10:02 mark of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn continued to separate themselves from Portland, getting up by as much as 8. However, Kanter continued to kill the Nets on the rebounds, getting offensive rebounds after offensive rebounds. Kanter’s dominance in the paint allowed Portland to close their deficit. Finally, Green hit 2 clutch free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to ice the game, giving Brooklyn a 116-112 win.
Upcoming Game for the Nets
Brooklyn is playing tomorrow on the second night of a back to back. On Wednesday, the Nets will take on the Utah Jazz. The game will start at 10:00 PM EST and of course, will be broadcasted on the YES Network.
Performances of Note
James Harden – 25 points, 7 rebounds, 17 assists, 7-24 FG, 0-7 3PT, 11-13 FT, 40 minutes
Jeff Green – 20 points, 4 rebounds, 7-14 FG, 2-6 3PT, 4-5 FT, 35 minutes
Joe Harris – 17 points, 6-12 FG, 3-6 3PT, 32 minutes
Nicolas Claxton – 16 rebounds, 9 rebounds, 8-10 FG, 21 minutes
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4-7 FG, 2-5 3PT, 27 minutes
Portland Trail Blazers:
Damian Lillard – 22 points, 9 assists, 5-17 FG, 3-14 3PT, 9-9 FT, 38 minutes
Enes Kanter – 19 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, 6-8 FG, 7-8 FT, 39 minutes
CJ McCollum – 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 5-19 FG, 4-12 3PT, 38 minutes
Carmelo Anthony – 15 points, 6-12 FG, 3-6 3PT, 22 minutes