The Portland Trail Blazers took care of business against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, looking sluggish at times before cruising to an easy 130-116 win at the Moda Center.
The Blazers were led by C.J. McCollum (31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Al-Farouq Aminu (23 points, 6 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (19 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds). Jusuf Nurkic also came through with another strong performance in his sixth game in a Portland uniform (17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists).
The Nets were led by Brook Lopez (26 points, 5 rebounds) and Sean Kilpatrick (20 points, 5 assists).
A good first quarter, where the Blazers put up 37 points and led by 10 was temporarily overshadowed by a scare with Allen Crabbe, who went down at the 1:46 mark with an apparent leg injury after bumping shins with Meyers Leonard. Crabbe looked to be in pain and needed help from teammates to reach the locker room, but wasn’t gone long. He returned to the bench and checked back in midway through the second period.
The bright side was Jusuf Nurkic, who again impressed on his new home floor, making his first three shots early and scoring eight points. Al-Farouq Aminu also turned in another strong shift off the bench, at one point scoring seven straight to help hold on to small lead when the Nets looked lifeless.
But the second quarter wasn’t as rosy. Portland suddenly struggled to get any offense going at all and Brooklyn found its groove. Brook Lopez tied C.J. McCollum to lead all scorers with 12 points heading into the locker room and fueled a scrappy comeback that would just about even the tables.
Portland Trail Blazers 58, Brooklyn Nets 57
The third quarter went much like the first, with the starters getting out to another lead and tasking the second unit to at least preserve it. In this case they did, feeding off of the hot shooting of McCollum, who scored another seven points to put the Blazers ahead by eight heading into the final frame.
Nurkic continued to have the Moda Center crowd buzzing, bruising his way to another nine points in the second half, and perhaps putting the exclamation point on the night with a sweet give-and-go pass to McCollum for a driving layup that put Portland ahead by 13 at 119-106.
To their credit, the Nets just wouldn’t give up. Jeremy Lin nailed back-to-back threes and eight-straight points for Brooklyn to keep his team within spitting distance. But without any real firepower it wasn’t enough to meaningfully threaten and the Blazers held on to walk away with a double-digit victory.
The Blazers will get a day off and then hit the road to visit the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday evening at 5:00 p.m.
-- Ryan Rosback | email@example.com | Twitter