Blazers Burn Through Nets
By Jason Schott - @JESchott19
The Nets suffered their worst loss of the season on Wednesday night to the Portland Trail Blazers, 124-80. They fall to 2-3 on the Circus Road Trip, with just two games remaining on it.
Portland dominated this one from the start, as they held a 29-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. They pulled away in the second quarter, closing it on an 11-0 run to lead 58-34 at halftime. The Nets looked pretty down as the quarter came to a close, as Paul Pierce made a lazy pass to Deron Williams that was picked off by Nicolas Batum, who found Will Barton for a layup with 44 seconds left. This was the first time in a while the Nets looked sapped off energy on the court.
It continued in the third quarter, as Portland opened up a 29-point lead, at 69-40, on a Nicolas Batum dunk with 6:20 left. At this point, Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd cleaned out his bench, subbing in Marquis Teague, Marcus Thornton, Alan Anderson, and Mirza Teletovic to play alongside Mason Plumlee, who was already in the game. These five played well together, especially Plumlee, and gave Portland a brief scare. Plumlee finished with 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
The Blazers improved to 40-18 on the season, continuing to make their case as the most improved team this season and a contender in the Western Conference. They were led by Mo Williams, who had 21 points, and Will Barton, who had 20, with both shooting 8-for-13 from the field. They were a big part of the 68 points the Blazers got off the bench, far surpassing their per game average of around 24.
The Blazers had seven players score in double figures. In addition to Williams and Barton, also off the bench, Victor Claver had 13, and C.J. McCollum had 11. among the starters, Nicolas Batum had 19, Damian Lillard had 14, and Robin Lopez (Brook's brother) had 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Nets head to Denver on Thursday night, and maybe the fact that the starters barely played in the second half will give them a chance for a rare win in the second part of a back-to-back. They already have one of those on this trip, Sunday night in Los Angeles after a bitter defeat the night before against Golden State. They close the Circus Road Trip on Saturday night in Milwaukee.