Trail Blazers

Instant Analysis: Brooklyn Nets hold off Portland Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers
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The threes were flying early and often Tuesday night between the Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets.

Portland took a 41-37 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But Tuesday's game wasn't decided until the final 7.8 seconds.

Yet, it just wasn't enough time for the Trail Blazers to complete the comeback as the Nets defeated the Blazers, 116-112. The game was close throughout with Brooklyn's biggest lead at eight points, while Portland's was seven.    

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After trading baskets in the third, the game became more and more physical. The Nets went to work in the paint to start the fourth.  

With the Blazers down five with under five minutes, Enes Kanter provided back-to-back putbacks. In the final minute with Portland down three, the Blazers came up with a stop, but in the following possession, Harden drew a foul (the sixth one on Robert Covington) with 16.5 seconds to go. 

 

But that foul was challenged by Portland's Terry Stotts.

The Blazers won the challenge and then won the jump ball.  

With 7.8 seconds remaining, Harden fouled Covington, with RoCo making one-of-two. 

Jeff Green knocked down both of his free throws with 4.4 to go in the game to put the game out of reach.  

While it was a typical night of James Harden blowing by his defenders and finding success at the rim, Damian Lillard got hot from three early. The Blazers point guard led all scorers in the first half with 17 to help Portland take a 66-65 lead at the break. Both Portland and Brooklyn got wide-open looks from three and were able to convert in the first half.

The Trail Blazers finished the first quarter shooting 50.0 percent from deep as the shorthanded Nets went an efficient 6-for-8 from behind the arc. Portland was also the aggressor and got to the free throw line early.

Brooklyn was without two of its stars.

Kevin Durant (left hamstring; strain), Kyrie Irving (personal reasons), did not play, while Spencer Dinwiddie (right knee; partially torn ACL), Alize Johnson (not with team) and Landry Shamet (right ankle; sprain) were also out.

The Blazers were without Jusuf Nurkic (right calf strain) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture), while Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons were added to the injury report just hours before tip-off due to health and safety protocols.  

FINAL BOX SCORE: Nets 116, Trail Blazers 112  

 

The Good: 

After a poor shooting night from behind the arc against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday night, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Carmelo Anthony all bounced back.  

The Blazers as a team were aggressive behind the arc and at getting to the rim. For the game, Portland shot 40.4 percent.

In the battle of bigs, Enes Kanter took it at DeAndre Jordan. Kanter was doing everything for the Blazers Tuesday night. From his solid screens for the Blazers wings to his playmaking, Kanter made his presence felt. The Blazers center finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, and six assists. Kanter was key in giving the Blazers extra possessions all night, but especially late in the game.  

Portland was able to pick Brooklyn's defense apart with Derrick Jones Jr. running the baseline.

The Bad: 

Despite being listed as questionable for Tuesdays game with neck soreness, James Harden looked like himself, scoring in spurts and drawing fouls. Whether it was Derrick Jones Jr. or Rodney Hood, the Blazers picked up Harden full court after any Blazer bucket.

It was a physical battle for Jones Jr., who was subbed out late in the second quarter and headed straight to the locker room holding his left arm. Jones Jr. returned in the second half and the team announced he had suffered a left forearm contusion. He continued to run through DeAndre Jordan screens and battle at the rim. As he played through the pain, DJJ still worked the baseline and the Blazers found him. He finished with 13 points.  

With early foul trouble for Robert Covington, the Blazers' rotation was thrown off in the second half. Covington was charged with his fifth foul with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter.

The Highlight:

Even while playing through pain, Derrick Jones Jr. still put on a show:

 

The Stat:  

As a team, both the Blazers and Nets notched 25 assists each. 

Next up: The Trail Blazers tip-off their four-game road trip in Miami on Thursday. The Blazers and Heat are scheduled to tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PST on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.