The Portland Trail Blazers bench contributed 32 points and strong defense to help stifle the Brooklyn Nets 97-87 Saturday night at Moda Center. Despite missing LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, the Blazers had enough depth to take advantage of a poor shooting Brooklyn squad.
The game started out ugly, with both teams missing their first four shots. Wesley Matthews, Chris Kaman and Robin Lopez combined to shoot 0-for-10, and the Blazers shot just 50% from the free throw line in the quarter. Fortunately, the defense clamped down and forced five turnovers, and Portland led by nine after one.
The teams played a balanced second quarter, with Portland maintaining its advantage. Scoring came from all angles as seven different Blazers scored in the period. Meyers Leonard, starting for LaMarcus Aldridge who missed the game due to an illness, had eight rebounds in the half to lead the Blazers. Overall, the strong play on both sides of the ball by Allen Crabbe, Will Barton and Leonard kept the Nets at bay, and Portland led 50-39 at halftime.
Lopez and Damian Lillard went to work in the second half, with the duo combining for 16 on 7-of-7 shooting in the period. On the other end of the court, the defense struggled to contain Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez as they accounted for 18 of their own. The Blazers bench made the difference, and Portland led by 14 after three.
The Blazers defense clamped down on the Nets shooters in the fourth. Johnson and Lopez combined to shoot 1-of-6 in the period, and while they closed the gap to six, the Blazers did not let them get any closer. The Nets would finish 1-of-19 from three-point range.
Lillard led the Blazers with 28 points along with 10 assists, Kaman had 12, and Barton had 8 in a strong night off the bench.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Really liking this stretch. Nic’s minor injury and LA getting sick might have been a blessing in disguise. Bench is getting TONS of valuable experience, especially the young guys.
by Darn you, darn you to heck!
Wow. So proud of our team tonight, with Batum & Aldridge down everyone else stepped up in a big way
Meyers with the postgame interview. Nice to see
#Nets lose 97-87, dropping all 3 games on this road trip. Lionel Hollins surprisingly optimistic. "Why shouldn't we be positive?''— Lenn Robbins (@LennRobbins) November 16, 2014
Hollins says he went with Mirza instead of Brook late to try & take advantage of Meyers Leonard & make some threes down the stretch.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 16, 2014
Hollins added that the big play late was Leonard getting an off-rebound over Mirza. "You win some and lose some when you do that," he said.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 16, 2014
Brook Lopez again took the loss personally, says he needs to be better and more aggressive to be on the floor down the stretch.— Stefan Bondy (@nydninternets) November 16, 2014
Meyers: "I think people see 7-foot, pretty strong, wide shoulders …" Kaman: "Is that how you see yourself?" Meyers: "Yeah, I do."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) November 16, 2014
Chris Kaman on Kim Hughes, his coach for 7 years with the Clips, coaching Meyers. "The right guy got a hold of Meyers at the right time."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 16, 2014