If you happened to miss tonight’s matchup, I strongly urge you to find a DVR recording and soak it all in. In one of the strangest yet awesome games this season, the Portland Trail Blazers (9-2) arrive at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn to take on the “hipster team” Nets (3-7) with new rookie coach Jason Kidd. It had everything: 40 points in the first quarter, a LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Kevin Garnett battle, Wesley Matthew nailing threes, ice cold shooting by the Nets and in the end, Portland’s seventh win in row. Hot shooting throughout combined with some great defense late brings the Blazers back from being down double digits and eventually on top 108-98.
After a hard-fought overtime victory yesterday afternoon, the Blazers faced a Brooklyn team who were without many of their stars: Deron Williams and Brook Lopez and a banged up Garnett and Paul Pierce trying to get healthy. From opening tip it was the battle of Garnett against Aldridge as KG hit home his first six baskets and scored 12 of Brooklyn’s first 14 points. His hot touch rubbed on his teammates as the Nets were shooting nearly 80%. Portland kept pace thanks to a perfect 4-4 three-point shooting from Wesley Matthews but five costly turnovers allowed the Nets to sit pretty. Portland also let Brooklyn get to the foul line early and quite often, they already were 10-11 compared to nada for the Blazers. The first ends with the Nets killing the Blazers with the midrange jumper and score a whopping 40 points (14-19 makes) who had been struggling to find their shot as of late. The Blazers’ offense wasn’t the problem (13-18 makes, 5-6 from three) as they only trailed 40-31 but the nagging problem of interior defense.
Garnett only played about four minutes at the opening tip and once he returned to the start of the second, he continued his onslaught from midrange. Damian Lillard hits a three to dig out of the hole down six. Just when Matthews makes another three and momentum swinging, Robin Lopez picks up his third foul of the night. He along with Joel Freeland had battled foul trouble all day in Toronto and when he sits, it gives the Nets reason to attack the basket and be sent to the line. Brooklyn is up 63-56 at intermission despite Portland outshooting 45% to 37%.
Could the scorching hot Nets shooting continue? They come out of the break and start 0-5 from the field and the nightmare had only just begun. Soon it was 1-10 and Portland works their way through the aggressive Brooklyn defense and chip away, eventually work to tie at 69. Aldridge connects on a turn-around jumper and gives the Blazers their first lead since it was 2-2 and the Blazers never looked back. The Nets shooting percentage free falls to 13% to Portland’s 60% and a 9-0 run. They would’ve taken a 10-point cushion into the final quarter but Mo Williams commits a foul on Alan Anderson from the three-point line with 0.1 left on the clock, Portland still leads 83-78.
The Barclay’s Center watch in horror and the groans become louder on every missed Nets basket as they watch the Blazers bench maintain and extend a 13-point lead, thanks to a 12-4 run. Williams danced, faked defenders and dropped floaters, Thomas Robinson dunked and Freeland even took a jump shot in the key. The Brooklyn fans were booing the home team (while a “Let’s go Blazers!” chant erupted from the 300 level) and watched as they chucked wild shots early in the shot clock and couldn’t save this sinking ship. But because the Blazers love watching their leads slip away, they continuously allowed Pierce, Jason Terry and Joe Johnson wide open looks from three, and every single attempt, rebound and loose ball fell back into the Blazers’ hands and came away empty. Portland goes scoreless for the final six minutes but the defense holds on till the final buzzer.
Who was Hot
- Everyone deserves recognition tonight, especially on a back-to-back and having been victorious in overtime the previous day on an early start time. The Blazers came, saw and conquered and was truely a team effort.
- LaMarcus Aldridge would’ve liked a better start against Garnett’s uncharacteristic hot hand early but for the game was the man: game-high 27 points, 8 rebounds, two blocks in 35 minutes after playing 40 yesterday. He proved tonight again that he’s no doubt the best power forward in the league, and the national media needs to take notice.
- Wesley Matthews is shooting over 50% from downtown and numerous times Terry would drift away from him and Matthews makes the Nets lazy defense pay: 24 points, six rebounds on 5-8 three-point makes. He was the key that kept the team up in the first half.
- Damian Lillard maintained an above average performance; he did have the disadvantage being paired with Shaun Livingston who is about 6’7” for a point guard. One highlight for Lillard was in the third when he split two defenders right down the middle and switched hands for a pretty lay-up: He ended with 19 points and nine assists.
- Mo Williams started like the old Mo at the start of the season: running around too fast, throwing the ball away, biting for the silly foul but he slowed down and controlled himself enough for 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in another solid effort.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 53% – Brooklyn 36% that is one of the biggest dive-bombs I’ve ever seen. The graphic below tells the whole story:
- 8-18 threes, the Nets only hit three for the game.
- 18-21 from the free throw line is good on it’s own, but Brooklyn went an astonishing 33-35. Sure you can say the Nets did take more chances in the paint and it worked, but there were too many times that Paul Pierce waltzed inside with his head down and easily got the call. Maybe it’s because he’s the veteran, or I’m blind and can’t see his multiple travel violations.
- Would you believe it if the Blazers outscored the Nets 40-30 in the paint for once? They did!
- 19-12 on assists.
- Blazers hold Brooklyn to four fast break points, but they are last in the league at that so it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Who was Cold
- Do I need to say it?
- Kevin Garnett: 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks and 8-19 shooting.
- Paul Pierce: 11 points on 2-12 shooting, 0-5 from three and 7-8 from the line.
- Joe Johnson: 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, 1-3 from three on 4-12 shooting.
- Reggie “Blazer Killer” Evans: five points, nine rebounds (another win considering he grabbed 26 rebounds in the last meeting in Portland).
- Jason Terry: five points, 1-4 from three, 2-7 total.
- Andray Blatche: 10 points, five rebounds on 4-10 shooting.
- Thomas Robinson was off his game tonight. The second quarter was not going his way as he made some rookie mistakes like missing rebounds, throwing the ball out of bounds and at point, handing the ball to Garnett without any hesitation.
Tweet of the Night
— Dustin James (@dustinjames) November 19, 2013
No words for Jason Kidd…
Wow wow wow. Rip City is going worldwide and should start getting some national attention. Their seven game winning streak is the longest since December 2007 and their first road-trip will guarantee a winning road record with one more on Wednesday in Milwaukee.