A night after surviving a near-collapse in Denver, the Portland Trail Blazers (40-18) come home to the Moda Center for a nice four-game home stand and welcome in the Brooklyn Nets (26-29). The last time these two teams met, the Nets scored 41 points in the first quarter, then crashed and burned as the Blazers blew them out. With the fears of tired legs and Thomas Robinson sitting out with a knee strain, Portland faced a well-rested Nets team with a very small frontline and needed to keep the tempo in their favor. Without LaMarcus Aldridge, Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland the Blazers improve to 4-1 with Aldridge set to return on Saturday night.
What ensued was an absolute massacre: led by Will Barton, Nicolas Batum, Mo Williams, Victor Claver and Damian Lillard, the Blazers just destroyed the Nets in every single way possible to a 124-80 blowout with the lead never in doubt. The Nets took their only lead in the first quarter off a Paul Pierce lay up to go up one, but a balanced Blazers offensive attack, exceptional ball-movement and energy kept Brooklyn from contention and coach Jason Kidd threw the white towel early. Portland’s lead grew to 21-points by halftime and were comfortable trading baskets till the fourth quarter when Portland tallied 41 points in the final 12 minutes to cap their dominance over the state of New York and the fans go home happy. Portland’s 44-point win is the largest margin of victory ever in the series and the Blazers notch their 40-win of the season, while it’s still February.
Will Barton was the man tonight, he was making the right decisions with the ball, created plays and throwing down dunk after dunk after dunk. One memorable sequence in the first half where Barton goes down the court with the ball, and literally waves away Lillard from taking possession, he drives inside and finds Batum cutting the baseline and zips an assist for the easy bucket between two Nets defenders. He finishes this fantastic night with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and 8-13 makes in 28 minutes.
Mo Williams leads the team and the bench with a very efficient 21-point, seven assists, six rebounds, and 3-5 from downtown. He was calm, cool and did serious damage both inside and outside the paint. The Blazers are now 20-3 when Williams scores more than 13 off the bench.
Nicolas Batum was aggressive early, wanted to fade in the background and look for the triple-double but he came back in the second half on a mission to score and indeed flirted with a trip-dub: he finishes with 19 points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Victor Claver was forced to slide to the center position as Robinson was out but he was a dog defensively; sizing up with the Brooklyn bigs, creating turnovers and dishing some nice passes with a Spanish flare. Claver collects a new career-high 13 points, five rebounds and even nailed a three-pointer.
Damian Lillard was held to 14 points with zero assists but with this kind of game from everyone else, no one really cares that much. Much of Brooklyn’s game plan was throwing two defenders at Lillard every time he touched the ball, thankfully the rest of the team stepped up. Robin Lopez had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Curious to see how good Portland sizzled tonight? You’re in luck:
- Shooting percentage: Portland 53% – Brooklyn 39%
- Three-point shot: Portland 13-31 – Brooklyn 4-22
- Free throws: Portland 19-21 – Brooklyn 12-17
- Rebounds: Portland 53 – Brooklyn 29
- Assists: Portland 29 – Brooklyn 18
- Blocks: Portland 6 – Brooklyn 1
- Points in paint: Portland 56 – Brooklyn 44
- Fast break points: Portland 19 – Brooklyn 8
- Bench points: Portland 68 – Brooklyn 48
Will Barton Highlight of the Night
Just let The Thrill do what he does best.
ROBIN LOPEZ GIF OF THE NIGHT
The cameras panned to Lopez while he was resting on the bench and this was his reaction to Barton’s two-handed slam dunk. It’s simply amazing.
It’s great to see that without our All-Star, these young Blazers can band together, have fun and go 4-1 on teams they should beat and withstand the storm. Portland will get Aldridge back (hopefully) on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.