Brooklyn Nets

The night the Trail Blazers clinched a playoff spot and nobody cared

The night the Trail Blazers clinched a playoff spot and nobody cared

With 2:23 left in the second overtime at Moda Center Monday night, the Portland Trail Blazers were headed toward a win that would clinch a playoff spot. And Jusuf Nurkic was bulling his way to an outstanding game, with 32 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.

And just one second later – a blink of an eye --  it all came apart for Nurkic and his team. He landed on the floor after going after a rebound and collapsed, his left leg awkwardly bent and apparently broken.

Even though Portland would go on to 148-144 double-overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets, it was the quietest just-clinched-a-playoff-berth locker room you’d ever find.

Sports – and life – are so fragile. On top one minute and on the bottom the next. Healthy, then broken. You just never know.

And the sight of Nurkic on the floor with teammates having to turn away from the ugly scene and the arena as quiet as it would be an hour later – it was terribly sad.

“That’s what our guys are talking about in the locker room right now,” said Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson. “They’re not talking about the game or the loss, they’re talking about, you know, a player who was having a great game and a heck of a player and you just pray that it’s not a long-term thing and he can bounce back.

“It just takes the wind out of yourself. It’s just not the same.”

The Trail Blazers, indeed, said a prayer after the game in the locker room. The realization that their season could have tumbled to the ground along with Nurkic was obviously a factor. But more than that, it was the serious injury to a teammate, a brother and a friend.

“Yeah, it’s all fragile,” said Damian Lillard. “Everything about it is. Other than the friendships you have, because regardless... same team, different team, during career post career, you’re going to be friends with guys. But every little thing about the game, about the NBA season, the NBA career – it’s fragile.

“You can be on a team one day, gone the next. You can be healthy one day, injured the next. Have a job one day, fired the next. It’s a lot of things about the game that’s fragile and that’s one of them. It’s one of the more unfortunate ones.”

The game was a physical one that saw 61 fouls called and a whole lot more calls that were missed. The Blazers appeared to be in deep trouble in the fourth quarter, trailing by five with 1:47 to go. They were still down by 3 with 34 seconds left when Lillard hit a layup to pull his team within a point.

But then Seth Curry pulled off a steal from D’Angelo Russell and set sail for the basket at the other end. He was fouled, though, and went to the line with two shots and 3.5 showing on the clock.

“In that situation, I know he likes to bring it back in his left hand,” Curry said. “So I was anticipating that left hand. He kind of lost it and put it in front of me and I was able to knock it away.”

Curry missed the first foul shot, then nailed the second, Russell missed a wild three-point shot and the teams headed to overtime.

Portland had the last shot of the first overtime with 8.8 seconds left but squandered the opportunity and settled for a 34-footer from Lillard.

Nurkic fouled out two Brooklyn centers and was working against 6-7 Jared Dudley in the second overtime when the game got very physical inside.

In fact, the league’s “Last 2-minute Report” ought to be very hard on the trio of officials, who seemed unable to control the contact.

But in the end, none of that seemed to matter much to the participants, whose hearts were with Nurkic. Curry, perhaps more than anyone in the locker room, knows what it’s like to suffer a serious injury.

“I definitely don’t take it for granted,” he said of his career. “I already know how it is. My injury last season, missing the whole season. You hate to see it. Especially for somebody who had worked as hard as he had all year.

“Having his best season and having his best game. It’s unfortunate.”

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers double overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers double overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets

What a crazy finish on Monday night in Portland.

But first, Trail Blazers fans were eager to welcome back former Blazers Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier for the first time since the two have been wearing Nets uniforms.

It was a close game throughout on Monday night. The Blazers and Nets were in a three-point shootout for most of the game.

Fans welcomed Davis with loud applause and cheers. Napier did not get in the game, but you can bet fans would’ve given him the same ovation.

The Blazers came from behind in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 120. In overtime, it was back-and-forth until both Portland and Brooklyn settled on 132 points each at the end of overtime. So, to double OT they went.

In the second overtime, the game went from physical to even more physical and that's when Jusuf Nurkic suffered a terrible left leg injury and left the game on a stretcher with 2:22 minutes remaining.

In the end, the Trail Blazers defeated the Nets, 148-144, as Portland goes undefeated in its four-game homestand. 

The Blazers also clinched a playoff spot with the victory. This marks Portland’s sixth consecutive postseason appearance.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 148, Nets 144 

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers fifth straight home victory:

1. Nets get their fare share of 3s

In the first 12 minute of play, Brooklyn shot 10 three-pointers and made four of them.  It’s in the scouting report that the Nets like to throw up a lot of threes.

The Trail Blazers got out on the perimeter after the first quarter and were able to run the Nets off the three-point line or get a hand in their face, which was a big reason Portland was able to hold off the Nets.  

2. Blazers take advantage of zone defense

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game, that the plan was to throw a number of defenders at Damian Lillard and different defensive looks.

The first time Brooklyn went to a zone, Enes Kanter made the Nets pay with a putback early in the second quarter.

It wasn’t just rebounding that Blazers were taking advantage of against the Nets’ defense. Portland was able to knock down wide-open threes with the Nets sitting back in the zone. Zach Collins knocked down two straight threes early in the second.

Brooklyn plays the most zone defense in the league, but against Portland you would think the Nets would rethink that, but they didn’t.

3. Free throw discrepancy

If Brooklyn would’ve shot better from the charity stripe, the Nets would’ve walked away with an easy win. After three quarters, Brooklyn was 21-of-31 from the free throw line to the Blazers 8-of-12 attempts. The Nets couldn’t capitalize on getting more whistles.

NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers hit the road for a four-game trip. First stop-- the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night with tip-off set for 5:00pm. Our pregame coverage tips off at 4:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

 

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

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Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

The regular season is winding down and Portland is in a groove right now, having won three in a row and six of its last seven games.

As for Brooklyn, the Nets are playing in the sixth game of a current seven-game trip that will wrap up on Thursday in Philadelphia.

Tonight’s contest will be the second and final meeting between the Blazers and Nets this season. Portland won the first meeting in Brooklyn, 113-99, back on February 21st.

Before tonight’s game, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson gave injury updates and more.

Blazers Injury Update: CJ McCollum (left knee) is out for Monday’s game vs. Brooklyn.

Coach Stotts gave a quick update on the status of McCollum:

“He’s doing well. He’s progressing well. He will not go on the road trip. He’ll stay back and rehab and get some court work back here,” Stotts said.

Stotts also added there is no new timetable for McCollum at this time.

Nets Injury Update: Allen Crabbe (right knee), Dzanan Musa (G League), Theo Pinson (G League) and Alan Williams (G League) are out.

Coach Atkinson said that Crabbe is still dealing with knee issues and there is no current timetable for his return.

Atkinson also discussed the plan when facing Damian Lillard is to throw different defenders and different defenses at him all night.

Hear from Coach Atkinson right here:

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets: How and Where to Watch

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets: How and Where to Watch

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

 

GAME DETAILS

Where to Watch: NBC Sports Northwest

Where to Watch on the go: Stream the game live on the new MyTeams App

Tip-Off Time: 7:00 p.m. 

Point spread: Portland -6

NBCS NW Coverage: Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show (6:30 p.m.), Blazers Outsiders Postgame Show (immediately after the game). 

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio

 

INJURY UPDATES

Portland has listed CJ McCollum (left knee) as out for Monday’s game vs. Brooklyn.

For the Nets, Allen Crabbe (right knee), Dzanan Musa (G League), Theo Pinson (G League) and Alan Williams (G League) are out.

 

QUICK LINKS

Dwight Jaynes: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard overwhelm Pistons down the stretch

Jamie Hudson: Confidence is high with Al-Farouq Aminu's ball handling... and it's showing

Mike Richman: Game opening plays have become a quiet competition for the Trail Blazers

VIDEO: Highlights: Late run rallies Blazers past Pistons for win

VIDEO: Aminu comes up "huge" for the Blazers

 

Download the brand new MyTeams app today - This is the app for everything Blazers: games, highlights, articles, podcasts and more from your NBC Sports Northwest Blazers team.

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Nets

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Nets

Following All-Star Break, the Portland Trail Blazers took the road for the first game of a seven game road trip. Their first stop was in Brooklyn on Thursday night against some familiar faces.

Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Allen Crabbe, who all now play for the Nets, put up a fight against Portland, but the trio couldn’t stop their former team and Portland’s new center tandem.

The Blazers dominated the Nets 113-99 in front of a sellout crowd at Barclays Center.

Here’s a look at everything you might have missed.

On a night where the three-ball wasn’t falling, the Blazers bigs caught fire.

Jusuf Nurkic went 10-of-15 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds on Thursday night, while Kanter, who made his debut in a Blazers uniform, knocked down eight of his nine shorts, scoring 18 points in just 19 minutes. He also added nine rebounds for Portland.

Dwight Jaynes noted Portland going old-school on Brooklyn with its centers: 'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

Allen Crabbe finished with the most minutes of the former Trail Blazers trio. He came off the bench for 17 points on 7-13 shooting, while Davis added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Napier added seven points and 10 assists.=

Jamie Hudson caught up with them after the game to see how they’ve been adjusting to life in Brooklyn and what they thought of the new-look Blazers: Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

Jamie also shared her initial thoughts following the Blazers win: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

The Trail Blazers went old school Thursday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Portland went inside to its centers. Over and over and over.

And over again.

Remember when having a low-post center who could score was a big deal? Well, the Trail Blazers turned back the clock Thursday night.

Two Blazer centers combined for 45 points and 21 rebounds as Jusuf Nurkic made 10 of his 15 shots and grabbed 12 rebounds and Enes Kanter, born in Turkey and making his Portland debut, hit eight of his nine shots, scored 18 points and hauled in nine rebounds in just a little under 20 minutes.

The Blazers finished with 66 points in the paint.

“He basically played the way we expected him to play,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said of Kanter. “I don’t know if you could have asked for a better first game from him.”

In a league dominated by three-point shooting, playing a power game with a big center is a real throwback. But high-percentage shots still have extreme value, particularly late in close games and when the shooters can also make free throws if fouled …

And, of course, on nights when the three-ball isn’t falling – like Thursday night for Portland.

“They are going to change the dynamic for a lot of teams in how they guard us,” CJ McCollum said. “They will be able to get a lot of attention, draw fouls and get us in the bonus a little bit earlier and present some different challenges for a lot of teams.”

The Trail Blazers made just 7 of 32 heaves from distance, with Damian Lillard and McCollum combining to hit only 3 of 15.

But Nurk and The Turk mopped up the mess, collecting a total of eight offensive rebounds.

“Obviously, our two big guys really dominated inside,” Stotts said. “They were a big part of our offense.

“We’ve been good, offensively, all season. And I think now we’re improved. Nurk has always been good on the pick-and-roll and Enes is good on the block.”

“Defensively, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Portland is stockpiling centers. Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard – who have each had good moments this season – did not get into the game and newcomer Skal Labissiere is plopped down at the end of the bench, where he is expected to stay with the four others ahead of him.

“He was tremendous,” Nurkic said of Kanter. ”If he can continue to play that way, it will be huge.”

McCollum said of Kanter: “He’s a monster, man. I’ve seen his work ethic the last few summers, living in New York and living in the same building.”

Kanter, who had been with the tanking Knicks prior to making his escape, was excited.

“The last time I got a win, I think it was two months,” he said. “First, it was amazing, man. I didn’t know any sets. We just went over them yesterday and it was like smoke coming out of my ears. I didn’t know any of them.

“But when you play with guys like Dame and CJ, they make the game so easy for themselves and for everybody else around them. That’s what made it so special.

“Winning is fun again. I hope it keeps getting better and better.”

Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

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Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

The start of the Trail Blazers road trip in Brooklyn brought some familiar faces to the court. Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis, Allen Crabbe and Shabazz Napier all now play for the Nets. 

Crabbe logged the most minutes of the trio, who all came off the bench. AC finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with his four rebounds. Davis racked up a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Napier added seven points and ten assists. 

It was quite the night for the trio despite the loss to Portland. Here is what the former Trail Blazers had to say after the game...

Top quotes of the night from Ed Davis:

On what he sees different in playing against former teammate Jake Layman:

“Nothing – he’s just getting the opportunity. Everyone over there knows he can play. He’s an aggressive scorer, so for him it’s the opportunity to get more consistent minutes.”

On moving forward this season with an emphasis on rebounding:

“It’s huge. You know, they definitely killed us on the boards tonight. (Enes) Kanter and (Rodney) Hood and the rest of the guys. To win games you definitely need to get stops and get defensive rebounds. Those are key points.”

Davis finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers on Thursday night.

Top quotes of the night from Allen Crabbe:

On where the Blazers hurt the Nets most tonight:

“Offensive rebounds. They got a lot of second chance points, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. It's hard to beat a team when you give up that many offensive rebounds and they get that many looks, second chances aside, you've got to them credit. They outworked us tonight."

On if it feels like he’s hot right now from three:

“I’m just playing basketball confident. Teammates find me within the flow of the offense and like I said, when I went out before I got injured, I felt like I was finding my rhythm, and I told myself to just come back with the same mindset – just stay aggressive out there and good things will happen.”

Crabbe has played just in just 32 games all season after missing nearly two months with the knee injury. In his last 10 games he is averaging 15 points.

Jusuf Nurkic leads strong 1-2 punch in win over Nets

Jusuf Nurkic leads strong 1-2 punch in win over Nets

BROOKLYN – One thing is for sure… The Portland Trail Blazers are loaded with offensive weapons.

And, CJ McCollum said it best after the Blazers 113-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night:

“It’s a good problem to have.”

Unlike what fans have become accustom to for the past few seasons with Damian Lillard and McCollum leading the offensive charge, on Thursday night, it was all about Jusuf Nurkic and newly acquired backup Enes Kanter.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts knows it’s a luxury to have two big men who can finish around the rim.

“We’re going to spread the wealth, I guess,” Stotts said in regards to the Blazers’ rotations and who is going to get minutes. “We’ve been good offensively most of the season. I think we’re probably improved now with Enes Kanter... So offense is going to be fine. We’ll find ways to score.”

Nurkic finished with 27 points in the win, which ties a season-high, to along with his 12 rebounds after shooting an efficient 10-of-15 from the floor.

The Bosnian Beast bodied up the young Jarret Allen in Thursday night’s win as Nurkic notched his 27th double-double of the season.

Nurkic had it going early when the rest of the Blazers seemed to be shaking off that post All-Star break rust.

At the break, he was the only Trail Blazer in double figures with 10 points.

“Nurk was great. He changed the game, made them have to really double team down in the paint, he attracted a lot of attention, finished strong, was efficient, he helped us a lot,” McCollum said.

But when Nurkic got into foul trouble in the second half that meant more minutes for the newest Trail Blazer.

“It’s not a break for other teams. You come out with Nurk,who is huge, banging guys down low, getting the ball in the paint and then when Nurk’s out of the game you come in with Enes and he’s the same. He’s strong, he’s banging, he’s making those guys work… They’ve got their work cut out for them in the paint,” Lillard said.

Nurkic feels the Blazers offense could see a bit of a change for this second half of the season.

“I feel like with Enes we’re gonna play a little bit more in the post,” Nurkic added.

Kanter logged 20 minutes in his debut for the Trail Blazers. He made his first seven shots and ended the game with 18 points after going 8-of-9 from the floor. Kanter also had nine rebounds with four of those coming on the offensive end.

“I didn’t expect [Kanter] to just be that comfortable… But he played in exactly the way I knew he was capable of – on the offensive glass, scoring on the block. I think that type of game from him, I think that’s something that we can really use,” Lillard said.

Both Nurkic and Kanter realize that with their size there is a big possibility they will create mismatches.

“Somebody is gonna need to guard two big fellas out there,” Nurkic said with a smile.

“Jusuf is one of the biggest men in the league. He kind of plays like I do – physical game, rebounding, post-ups and face-up shots. I think we just want to get better from now,” Kanter said.

Lillard also mentioned how having Nurkic and Kanter both being so effective down low could open up more driving lanes for he and McCollum.

While McCollum pointed out that the Blazers could now be heading to the free throw line a little bit more because of Nurkic and Kanter’s play.

“They’re gonna change the dynamic for a lot of teams and how they guard us. Obviously they’re able to draw fouls, draw a lot of attention, get us in the bonus a little bit earlier and present some different challenges for a lot of teams,” McCollum said.

Nurkic and the rest of the Blazers will look to now take advantage of the Philadelphia 76ers who will be playing without Joel Embiid when the Blazers visit Philly on Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

BROOKLYN -- It was a game that was going to set the tone for the Portland Trail Blazers seven-game road trip, according to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and after shaking off the rust; Portland was able to take advantage of the young Nets team.

Both Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter powered their way past Brooklyn to help the Blazers get a win to start the trip.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 113, Nets 99

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers win over the Nets:

 

1. Kanter imposing his will

Enes Kanter checked in as a Trail Blazer for the first time at the 3:14 mark of the first quarter. He quickly showed Blazers fans what he will bring to this team on the offensive end as Kanter muscled his way past Ed Davis for two back-to-back lay-ins.

The last two days, Kanter has preached that he will bring the energy and against the Nets he showed that energy on both ends. This is a game that Kanter matched up well again with a small frontcourt.

In his first stint as a Trail Blazer, Kanter went 3-for-3 with six points and four rebounds in nine minutes of work.  He made his first seven shots of the game.

2. Going up against Blazers East

Some of Rip City’s fan favorites are now with the Nets and you could tell the former players wanted to take it at their old team.
Midway through the 1st quarter all three former Trail Blazer players were on the court – Allen Crabbe, Shabazz Napier, and Ed Davis.

Shabazz and Davis showed their strong connection early with back-to-back successful pick and roll action. That was the first sign of the element of wanting to play well against your former team. Crabbe was also going hard at CJ McCollum one-on-one early.

Blazers fans should know—Nets fans seem to love/enjoy what all three former Blazers bring to their Nets team.

The second quarter Napier showed off some “Shabazzle Dazzle” with a between the legs pass to Crabbe who calmly knocked down the long three-pointer and the crowd went nuts. Which by the way, I felt like I was at a college game with section 114 chanting and standing for most of the game. It really was like having a student section going crazy for their team.  

Napier had a career-high in assists of a half with eight assists.

 

3. Strong third quarter despite foul trouble

It wasn’t until the second half started the Blazers looked like they were finding their groove on offense. Portland outscored Brooklyn 34-22 in the quarter and that was despite both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic picking up four fouls each by the eight-minute mark of the third.

The triple-double watch for Damian Lillard started midway through the third as well. With just minutes left in the 3rd period, Lillard had 10poimts, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

It was one of those off nights for Lillard, but he found different ways to help his team secure a victory.

The Nets made a run at the Blazers to make it a one-point game 7:25 mark in the final quarter after DeMarre Carroll knocked down a jumper, but Portland was able to take care of business down the stretch.

And, this ended up not being the triple-double game for Lillard, but we all know he always wants the win more than the triple-double feat.

NEXT UP: Portland continues its seven-game trip with a stop in Philadelphia for the second game of the road slate. Tip-off between the Blazers and 76ers is set for 10:00am PT with pregame coverage beginning at 9:00am on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Everything you need to know from pregame as the Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

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Everything you need to know from pregame as the Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN -- The Trail Blazers tip-off the second half of the 2018-19 NBA season with a brutal stretch in their schedule as Portland embarks on a seven-game, East Coast road trip starting with this matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.

Before tonight’s game tips off, the Trail Blazers players and coaching staff embraced and said their hellos to former teammates Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier while both teams were warming up.

Before the game Davis talked about what it was like getting to catch up with his former teammates, “I was there for three years. I developed a lot of lifelong relationships. It’s good to see old faces.”

Davis also had a message for Trail Blazers fans:

 

“We’ll be back in [Portland] at the end of next month. It’ll be good to be back. I appreciate all the support,” Davis said.

 

During his pregame media availability Blazers head coach Terry Stotts had plenty to say about what it was like to coach ‘Phys Ed’:

“He’s a pros, pro. He plays hard, he practices everyday, he’s a good teammate. He had good conversations with the players whether it was about basketball or about life. I think his teammates appreciated his willingness to do the dirty work and because of that he had the respect of his teammates and his coaches. I can’t say enough good things about Ed," Stotts said.

Hear more from Coach Stotts here: