The Brooklyn Nets’ West Coast trip took them to Portland on Friday night. After suffering a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, they came out on top against the Blazers. (This was a good one, too.)
The Nets, as usual with their status as the NBA’s No. 1 team in pace, came out running in this game. (Portland ranks 19th in pace.) Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll were money from behind the arc in the first quarter, knocking down all four of Brooklyn’s made threes.
However, the Nets’ struggles at containing an opposing team’s big man continued, as Jusuf Nurkic led the Blazers with 11 points after the first 12 minutes. The period closed with a buzzer-beating trey by Pat Connaughton, Portland’s only made three-pointer in the quarter. Still, the Blazers held a 28-21 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, thanks to a 13-2 run capped off by a couple of converted triples by Joe Harris and D’Angelo Russell, the Nets took a 37-36 lead. The game remained relatively close until around the two-minute mark of the half. Portland ended the half on a 6-2 run and gained a 52-46 advantage at halftime. The first half was notable for its many, many lead changes.
The Blazers continued to add to their lead toward the beginning of the third quarter, with Nurkic, C.J. McCollum and Maurice Harkless leading the way. Four minutes in, however, Crabbe (the former Blazer) headed a Nets comeback, knocking down two straight shots.
Thank you for Allen Crabbe, Portland. We enjoy him very much in black and white.
Brooklyn rallied back to take a 67-65 lead with four minutes to go in the third after a dunk by Carroll, who also hit a three-pointer one minute earlier. Tack on five more points for the Nets and this marked a 17-0 spurt. They even led by double digits at one point in the final minute, sparking some boos in the Blazers crowd. Gotta love that ball movement and being the comeback kids on the road. The Nets outscored the Blazers 31-18 in the third and were up 77-70 heading into the final period.
It was a big third quarter for the Nets, to say the least. How big? Well, here you go:
The 18 points are the fewest points scored by a Nets opponent in any quarter this season. https://t.co/nZlLpbeLDi
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) November 11, 2017
Unfortunately, the Nets could not maintain this momentum at the beginning of the fourth. A 7-0 run by the Blazers, powered by McCollum and Evan Turner, trimmed Brooklyn’s lead to just one point, 80-79. The Nets found themselves in a back-and-forth affair for the first six minutes of the fourth before a “Lillard Time” heave from way downtown brought Portland’s lead up to 89-84. Timeout Nets, because Kenny Atkinson was certainly not happy with his team.
Out of the timeout, Brooklyn went on an 8-0 run, knotting it up at 89 after an easy pull-up jumper by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a Russell trey in transition. Crunch time, here we come.
Approaching a minute to go, the Nets had a 96-95 lead, and Hollis-Jefferson made a couple of pivotal moves. Some incessant dribbling by Turner resulted in “The Hyphen” poking the ball away for a Nets steal. Though Brooklyn did not score on the subsequent possession, he had another heroic move on the following Blazers possession. Lillard lost the ball, producing another steal for Hollis-Jefferson. With opposing bodies all around him, he was able to secure a timeout for Brooklyn.
Russell hit a pull-up jumper out of the timeout with 36 seconds to go, giving the Nets a 98-95 advantage. Speaking of Russell, it is also a relief his missed free throws in the final seconds did not cost Brooklyn the game and that he got the rebound off his first miss on a potential and-one play.
What a thriller.
The stats: 12 PTS, 5-11 FG, 2-7 3FG, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 TOV, 30 MIN
Revenge games have not exactly been in the Nets’ favor (sorry D’Lo and Mozzie), but Allen Crabbe turned that around Friday night, somewhat. Thanks for the crab, Portland.
The stats: 16 PTS, 5-11 FG, 3-7 3FG, 8 REB, 1 AST, 0 TOV, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 30 MIN
Junkyard Dog did a bit of everything against Portland: tracking down loose balls, knocking down threes and even dunking. That’s right, dunking… not to mention, it was a jam that gave the Nets the lead. Show ’em and stuff ’em.
The stats: 10 PTS, 4-9 FG, 1-5 3FG, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 TOV, 2 BLK, 21 MIN
Joe Harris is quite good. Sure, he is the popular three-point specialist on the team, but did anyone else see his cuts to the basket and that and-one layup in the fourth? And his two blocks?! Not too shabby.
The stats: 21 PTS, 8-19 FG, 3-9 3FG, 4 REB, 9 AST, 2 TOV, 28 MIN
Ball movement was pretty for the Nets in Portland, and many of these plays came from D’Angelo Russell. He finished with a team-high 21 points and nine assists. 11 of these points came when Brooklyn needed him the most — the fourth quarter. Keep that “ice in your veins” vibe coming.