The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers today at Barclays Center, 98-85. This was the second straight strong 4th quarter performance by Brooklyn, who outscored Portland 28-15 in the fourth quarter after tying the game heading into the final frame. Brooklyn was led by its backcourt. Deron Williams scored 15 and dished 12 assists. Joe Johnson scored 21 in his second consecutive good game. Portland was led by their starters, who scored 76 of the team’s 85 points. Wesley Matthews had 20, while J.J. Hickson had 19 and 10 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge did not play.
This was a good win for Brooklyn, and they continue their dominance at home where they improved to 6-1 on the season and 8-4 overall. After being down 50-46 at halftime, the Nets had another great second half, outscoring Portland 52-35. They turned a close game which was tied heading into the fourth quarter into a blowout where end-of-the-bench guys played in the last 2 minutes.
The key to the comeback was Deron Williams. He really stepped up his game on both offense and defense in the second half and got much more aggressive. In the game, he held superstar rookie Damian Lillard to only 13 points on 4-12 shooting, and a few of his 3-pointers were very lucky. Deron also blocked Lillard multiple times and had 4 blocks in the game. On offense, Deron’s wrist still continues to be a problem. In the first half, it looked like his wrist was effecting his shot, but he did make two 3’s in the second half.
Joe Johnson also looked very good today. He shot over 50% from the field and his shot selection was very good. This was definitely one of the better games for Brooklyn’s Backcourt.
One other note is that Marshon Brooks replaced Jerry Stackhouse in the rotation today. Although Marshon did not play especially well, he will be important to this team at some point in the season and I’m glad Avery is playing him over Stackhouse now.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Kris Humphries: A-
Humphries had a bounce-back game with a Hump Double-Double: 14 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 7-9 from the floor and contributed a few dunks too. His defense was average, but he is not a great defender so that’s ok. This is what the Nets want from Humphries.
Brook Lopez: B+
Lopez played pretty well, shooting 50% from the field and scoring 15 points. He also had 8 rebounds, which is very good for Brook. This was not one of Lopez’s best games, but he will take it.
Deron Williams: A-
Deron did not play well in the first half at all. His shot was way off and Lillard was winning the point guard matchup. As soon as the third quarter started, Deron decided he wanted to shoot more and this was a good thing. He finished the game with 15 points, 12 assists, 3 steals, and a career high 4 blocks, most of them on Lillard. His wrist is still bothering him and I hope that this won’t be a problem as the season continues.
Joe Johnson: A-
JJ had a hot start to this game and carried the Nets’ offense in the first quarter. He finished the game shooting 10-19 for 21 and 4 assists. He also was a big scorer when the Nets took their lead in the fourth quarter. This was Joe’s second straight strong game in Brooklyn. Hopefully he is out of his early-season slump.
Andray Blatche: B
Blatche alone outplayed the Blazers’ bench, and he didn’t even play that well. He had 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but he only shot 3-11 from the field. The Blazers’ bench had 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block, and many of those points came in the last minute of the game in garbage time. Blatche’s shot selection was not great tonight, but he did a good job rebounding.
Reggie Evans: A
The Nets probably would have lost this game if not for Reggie Evans. He is so valuable to this team. He had 14 rebounds tonight, while only scoring 2 points on 1 field goal attempt. In the Clippers game, he had 12 rebounds, and he is doing this in limited playing time. He continues to lead the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes.
The Nets will be back in Brooklyn tomorrow night to begin their rivalry with the Manhattan Knicks. That game was originally supposed to be played on November 1st, but got delayed because of Hurricane Sandy. The game begins at 7 PM on TNT. We will have full coverage at FRWD.