----- A 22-2 run in the third quarter fuels the Brooklyn Nets to a 101-97 win over the Trail Blazers Friday night at Moda Center.
The Trail Blazers were uninspiring from the moment the game started tonight, failing to build on multiple double-digit first-half leads allowing the Nets to hang around long enough to steal a win. The real damage came in the third quarter when the Nets scored 17 straight points as part of a 22-2 run turning a 10-point deficit into a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
Brooklyn (5-7) got 21 points from D'Angelo Russell including a key bucket in the final minute of the game and a free throw that iced the game for the Nets. DeMarre Carroll scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Joe Harris added 10 points off the bench.
The main concern following the loss involved Jusuf Nurkic and his lack of playing time late in the game. Nurkic scored 21 points on 10-for-20 shooting but was on the bench for nearly the entire fourth quarter. When the Nets went small, Coach Stotts responded with a small lineup that included Ed Davis instead Nurkic. When asked why Nurkic was on the bench, Terry Stotts said, "With their small lineup I thought defensively we were giving up too much when he was in there and I like Ed's athleticism."
Portland (6-6) got 19 points from Damian Lillard and 17 points from CJ McCollum, but the two combined to connect on just 13 of their 32 shots. the Blazers shot just 42.1% from the field for the game. Even more troubling was the Blazers lack of ball movement on the night. Portland dished out nine assists in the first quarter, but had just four assists the entire second half.
Next up- Portland will host Denver on Monday night at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Tonight's loss was pathetic. The Blazers were lifeless and failed to execute. Even worse, Terry Stotts had an awful night. He allowed the Nets to dictate how the game was played and it proved costly. His big mistake came when he elected to respond to the Nets small lineup by sitting Jusuf Nurkic on the bench during the entire fourth quarter. Nurkic had a big night with 21 points on 10-for-20 shooting. The Nets had now answer for him and yet he couldn't find the court late in the game. That was a baffling decision. They are the Nets coach, you force them to adjust to you. Right now the Trail Blazers must learn how to give a consistent effort game to game. The players deserve blame for their performance, but at some point you have to wonder how much of an actual impact the coach is having with this group.