The Blazers were led by monster performances by Wesley Matthews (24 points, 6 rebounds, 5-8 from three) and LaMarcus Aldridge (another All-Star performance with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks). Damian Lillard (19 points, 9 assists) had a good night, as did Mo Williams off the bench (12 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks). But that doesn't minimize the roles of any Blazer tonight, as every player had a critical play or moment. This was a true team victory.
Portland secured its first seven-game winning streak (within a single season) since winning 13 consecutive games in Dec. 2007.
First Quarter: Kevin Garnett returned to the starting lineup and promptly hit his first 6 shots to score 10 of the Nets' first 12 points. Luckily, Matthews was insanely hot from downtown, so the Blazers stayed close. The Nets were on fire, aggressive, and nearly unstoppable, everything their owner hoped for with his offseason acquisitions. The Blazers simply couldn't keep up. Just a couple turnovers suddenly left them behind by 11 (after the Nets scored 34 points in 9 minutes) and looking a little shell-shocked. They took a timeout to regroup, and perhaps cool down the Nets. By the time the buzzer sounded, the Nets had shot 74% and packed 40 points onto the scoreboard... but were only up 9 after the Blazers shot 72% themselves. The interior-shooting Nets had 11 free throws to Portland's zero.
Brooklyn 40, Portland 31
What is this, NBA Jam?
Second Quarter: The Nets actually missed a few shots! Portland took advantage to pull within 6. But every loose ball went to the Nets, which helped keep them ahead. Portland pulled close, but the Nets kept a 6 point lead as the starters returned again. This was a lot like the first quarter, except with way more missed shots by both teams.
Brooklyn 63, Portland 56
Here is the game right here:
Nets 12 more free throws made.
Nets 14 more points off turnovers.
Third Quarter: The early hot shooting is long gone, and the Nets struggled to keep the lead more by the minute. All the easy shots were gone, and the tougher ones weren't going in. There were no more loose balls to win. Portland's defense picked up a little. The Blazers creeped closer, but kept missing the tying shot. Finally, with 4:45 left, Matthews hit a layup to tie the game, followed by an Aldridge fadeaway and another Matthews layup! The now-shell-shocked Nets needed a timeout of their own. But in a memorable, highlight-filled stretch, the Blazers absolutely lit up the Nets, with Damian and Mo keeping them on their heels. The only thing that saved the Nets was a last-second foul called on Williams, giving them three free throws, and hope.
Portland 83, Brooklyn 78
This is a crazy game...just insane.
Fourth Quarter: Say hello to the Blazers' bench! Robinson and Freeland combined to quickly push the Blazer lead to 9. The Nets tried to hold it there, but the Blazers shut them down, and Matthews and Williams combined to make it a 13 point lead. At this point, even the Brooklyn fans were ooh'ing and ahh'ing the Blazers, who looked like rock stars putting on a show. The increasingly-desperate Nets were forced to call a timeout.
[Oh,] the wheels on the bus are
falling off, falling off
The Nets, while being booed by their home crowd, cut the lead to 10 as the Blazer starters returned at the mid-point. The lead remained 12 for minutes as the Nets missed shot after shot after shot, and the Blazers immediately grabbed every rebound. Paul Pierce finally used a flop to cut the Blazer lead back to 10 with 3:28 left. The Nets had a chance to score again, but a Williams steal stopped one possession, a Joe Johnson brick stopped the next possession, and a Jason Terry brick stopped the next one... while a "Let's Go Blazers!" chant broke out in the crowd. Ouch. With less than two minutes left, Aldridge was fouled and hit two free throws with 1:45 left for a 12 point Blazer lead. The Nets had no comebacks left, and the frustrated Brooklyn fans grumbled to the exits. Other than the ones who chanted for the Blazers, of course.
Dave will have more analysis later tonight. The Blazers can sweep this road trip with a win Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs: