----- Spencer Dinwiddie scores 34 points as the Brooklyn Nets spoil a career-night from Damian Lillard with a 119-115 win Friday night at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
Damian Lillard scored a franchise-record 60 points, but it wasn't enough as the Brooklyn Nets sent the Trail Blazers to their fourth-straight loss with a 119-115 win Friday night at Moda Center.
Lillard connected on 19 of his 33 field goals including 7-of-16 from three-point range. He scored 26 points in the first half and then poured in 34 more in the second. The Nets had no answer for Lillard.
“We tried box, zone, blitz, we threw the kitchen sink at him,” New Jersey Coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He would just make incredible shots. And we kept saying, ‘He’s going to tire out eventually. He played 39 minutes last night and eventually he’s going to fatigue.’ I don’t know if that was the case, it felt like he kept making shots, but I thought getting the ball out of his hands midway through the fourth quarter helped us.”
Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 34 points making six of his 10 shots from downtown while Kyrie Irving added 33 points and six assists. Irving entered the game as the NBA's second-leading scorer, scored nine fourth-quarter points including a big shot to give the Nets a 117-112 lead with 17.8 seconds left.
CJ McCollum struggled for most of the night missing 14 of his first 16 shots finishing with just eight points on 4-for-19 shooting.
“We had trouble scoring,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “As a team we shot 41 percent and Dame was 19 for 33, so obviously, scoring was tough. Our defense was a little inconsistent. We didn’t really take away anything that they did well.
The Trail Blazers suffered more injuries on the night. Rodney Hood exited the game after just six-minutes on the floor with back spasms and Skal Labissiere left the game with an ankle injury. Bad news for a team playing without Zach Collins and Pau Gasol.
The injuries gave an opportunity to rookie Nassir Little. He finished the game with a solid eight points in 19 minutes, making a strong case for more playing time moving forward.
“He had a lot of energy,” said Stotts about Little. “I think he made some momentum plays. I liked his athleticism, his dunks, he got the crowd into the game, he got our bench into it. Down the stretch, he had some mistakes, which it’s tough for rookies out there, but for him to get his first real opportunity in an NBA game, I think he really provided a spark."
Even as the losses and injuries begin to pile up, Lillard remains confident in his team.
“I think we’re in position to win games and we’re in position in the third quarter,” Lillard said. “And in the fourth quarter, you’ve got to be present, mentally and physically. I think we compete. I think we’re together. We might be last in the league, defensively, in the fourth quarter. If you’re in every game like we are – we haven’t been blown out – so you’re last in defensive rating in the fourth quarter, you’re not going to win those games. I think that’s where we’re struggling right now.”
Up Next- The Portland Trail Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks Sunday at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 6:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Someone needs to place CJ McCollum on the back of a milk carton. He is nowhere to be found.