The Chairman of the Boards. That was the nickname YES Network’s Chris Shearn concocted for Reggie Evans after his career night, and it’s something we should’ve cemented years ago. For the second time this season, Evans set a career high for rebounds, nearly matching the entire other team in the first three quarters.
Evans, who finished with 26 rebounds while tying his career high with 22 points, was the physical catalyst for the Brooklyn Nets in their 111-93 blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night, leading the team with a +29 in 35 minutes and a constant stream of possession-controlling plays without giving the ball away. Evans rebounded 40.6% of all rebounds available when he was on the floor — to compare, the league average is 10%.
It was hardly just Evans; the Nets tore up an interior defense that had no answer for them, getting 58 field goal attempts from within five feet — more than twice their season average of 25.9 attempts per game in that range — making 37 shots from that area alone. That’s a lot of points. Whether it was alley-oops, Reggie Evans backdowns, Gerald Wallace dunks, Reggie Evans putbacks, Brook Lopez baby hooks, layups, Andray Blatche dipsy-doos… you get the idea. The Nets couldn’t be stopped in the lane, and abused that obvious advantage.
The Nets didn’t do much else offensively — they shot a paltry 5-20 from three-point range, an embarrassing 14-25 from the line, and Deron Williams had a quiet offensive night even with Joe Johnson sidelined — but the team scored so much and so well simply by pounding the ball inside and controlling the offensive glass that Portland never stood a chance. Lopez? 11-17 from within five feet. Evans? 9-13 — every one of his shots. Blatche? 5-6, also all of his sh ots. Amazing what a team can do to an interior defense led by J.J. Hickson and Meyers Leonard.
With the victory, the Nets tied a franchise record with their 20th road win of the season, needing just one more road win to finish the season with their first road record over .500 ever. They also guaranteed a season record over .500, their first since the 2005-06 season, when they finished 49-33.