The Portland Trail Blazers dominated an opponent at last. The Brooklyn Nets weren’t the cure for everything that ails the Blazers, but they were everything the doctor ordered. Portland’s maligned bench unit dominated the Nets, leading the way for a relieving 129-109 Blazer victory.
Portland was led by the usual duo of CJ McCollum (33 points in 31 minutes) and Damian Lillard (18 points). But this game wasn’t about the starters. Evan Turner (19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), Allen Crabbe (14 points, 4-7 from downtown), and Meyers Leonard (12 points, 10 rebounds, 4-6 from three) carried the load during large stretches of the game, helping Portland win a laugher.
The Blazers opened the game with inspired defense, forcing some bad shots from the Nets. But Brooklyn settled down, and kept up with the Blazers’ hot shooting by setting up open shooters. The Blazers led 19-17 halfway through the first. Despite a higher level of energy, the Blazers just couldn’t keep the Nets from scoring. The Blazers eventually gave up 29 points to the Nets, but scored enough to stay ahead.
Portland Trail Blazers 32, Brooklyn Nets 29
Portland’s bench unit picked up the pace in the second quarter, and the Blazers maintained their lead. Evan Turner scored 8 quick points, but the Nets found ways to keep things close, including some good passing and a nice three-point play. After Meyers Leonard swished back-to-back three-pointers, Portland finally pulled ahead by 7. After another Turner turnaround (say that three times fast), the Nets called timeout down 9. Turner and Allen Crabbe combined for five more points, and the Blazers reached their first double-digit lead of the night. But the defense vanished, and soon the Nets pulled close in a shootout. Crabbe finished the half with two more points for the bench unit, and Portland kept the lead.
Portland Trail Blazers 70, New Jersey Nets 64
ET kinda took over the second quarter... pic.twitter.com/urV7qoIC70— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 20, 2016
More good ball movement led to good things for the Blazers in the third quarter, as their lead quickly rebounded to 10. Then finally, Portland opened it up. When Leonard swished another three-pointer, Portland led by 17 and the rout was on. They easily held off the Nets for the rest of the quarter, setting up a fourth quarter with plenty of room for error.
Portland Trail Blazers 99, Brooklyn Nets 84
There were no serious errors from the Blazers in the fourth. The bench unit continued to take care of business, and Portland led by more than 20 halfway into the quarter. For the first time, the Blazers’ deep bench entered the game with the rest of their teammates happy. Rookie legend Jake Layman even swished a mid-range jumper. The team cruised through their easiest victory of the season, and can breathe a sigh of relief in the middle of a tough road trip. And take a minute to celebrate this Tim Quarterman garbage-time jam.
No rest for the Blazers; they play the New York Knicks Tuesday evening. But stay tuned today for more analysis of today’s game from Blazer’s Edge.