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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: In the battle of artisanal capitals East and West, the Portland Trail Blazers made a mockery of Brooklyn, blowing out the Brooklyn Nets 124-80 in Portland. Yes, that’s a 44-point loss, the worst for the Nets in over a decade.
The Blazers won behind an all-around offensive effort, with seven players in double figures and just over half (68) of their 124 points coming from their bench.
Where they stand: The Nets fall to 26-29, tying the Charlotte Bobcats for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference (the Bobcats technically have a slightly better record, since they’ve played more games), and falling to five games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division.
That was… Pretty much over at the halftime buzzer. The Nets scored a season-low 34 points in the first half, committing sloppy passes and leaving the paint wide open for dunks and layups. The Trail Blazers scored 9 fast-break points and 30 points in the paint in the first half, and the Nets couldn’t stop them, even on the rare occasion that they tried.
Game Grades: Read ’em here. Portlandia beat Girls.
This about says it all:
This play late in the fourth quarter just about tells you what you need to know about this one: the Blazers getting into the lane easily, messing around with pinpoint passes, and hitting an open shot. This is pretty much how most offensive possessions went for the Blazers, except for the ones that ended in Will Barton dunks.
Okay, THIS says it all:
Kevin Garnett on tonight's loss: "It's too late in the goddamn season to be playing like this."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 27, 2014
Damian Lillard: Is incredible to watch. He’s the anti-Anthony Bennett. I don’t know a defender that can stop him one-on-one, and the Nets help defense couldn’t contain his supreme balance and scoring touch.
It’s a misnomer that the Nets “gave him up” — he was selected with a Nets pick that was traded to Portland, and it’s no guarantee that they would’ve had that pick at that spot had they kept it, nor a guarantee that they would’ve taken Lillard (in fact, with Williams already around, they probably would have passed). But it’s representative of a choice the Nets made about three years ago, a choice that ultimately resulted in last night.
Lillard finished with 14 points on 6-11 shooting, doing little else but score.
Deron Williams: led the Nets with 12 points. LED THEM. WITH 12 POINTS. He didn’t look bad, really, sneaking around screens off the ball and getting into the lane. It’s also not all about scoring. But if you lead a team with 12 points, your team is either a high school JV squad or probably going to lose.
Three Players Better Than The Nets Starters, Combined: The Nets combined for 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists last night. Three players this season have put up 35-12-7 games this season: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love. Jason Kidd also did it in 2007.
Historical Margin: The 44-point loss was the fourth-largest in Nets history, and the biggest since December 13, 2003, when they lost 110-63 to the Grizzlies. Jason Kidd scored ten points. For perspective: the next day, Saddam Hussein was captured by United States armed forces.
Andrei Kirilenko, slammin':
One of the few good things to happen in Portland for Brooklyn: this slick steal and slam by small forward and do-it-all Russian army knife Andrei Kirilenko. Also, rather than just give you the Ian Eagle, Out Of Context quote, just watch the highlight for Ian Eagle’s latest and greatest breakdown of appropriate uses of the word “wily.”
Speaking of Kirilenko: His limbs just go out of whack and look ridiculous when he gets fouled, Like a wacky arm-flailing inflatable tube man. He looks like a QWOP athlete.
That video is called “Very Easy” tutorial. VERY EASY.
Bench, Mobbed: The Trail Blazers bench is the lowest-scoring bench in the league, averaging a league-worst 18.5 points per game heading into Wednesday night. They scored 68 points against the Nets.
I’ll say that again.
The Trail Blazers bench is the lowest-scoring bench in the league, averaging a league-worst 18.5 points per game heading into Wednesday night. They scored 68 points against the Nets.
68. They’d scored 76 in their last three games combined. Given their season average, it’d normally take them four games to get to 68 points.
Mo Williams led the bench, as well as everyone else, with 21 points and seven assists off the Blazers bench. Not only is that more points than the Blazers average off the bench as a team, it’s also more assists (4.7). Will Barton added 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. That’s more points AND (you guessed it!) more rebounds (10.5) than the entire Blazers bench average per game as a team.
The Nets got beaten, battered, destroyed, laughed at, desecrated, wholly torn apart by the league’s worst bench in unprecedented ways. Let that sink into your overpriced latte.
There’s No Clever Way To Say This: The Nets got outrebounded 53-29.
My Thoughts At The Half: I picked a bad day to stop drinking coffee after noon.
Meanwhile, in post-Nets Coach Land:
This image of former Nets coach Avery Johnson comes courtesy of SB Nation, who captured him either giving analysis on ESPN or leaving the Playboy Mansion.
The Box Score Looks Like A Battery: Every Nets player had a negative plus-minus (yes, even Jason Collins), and every Trail Blazers player had a positive one. Even in a blowout, that’s tough to do.
Paul Pierce: "We lose like this it's just complete lack of focus. No way against any NBA team we should lose by 40 with the guys we got."
— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) February 27, 2014
Next up: This may be the best part of last night: they can’t dwell on it. After two days of weekend games and two days off, they’ve got two days of games again: the Nets traveled to Denver after Wednesday night’s game to take on the Nuggets, tonight at 10:30 P.M. EST. Hope you like late nights.