On Wednesday night, the Nets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers by a final score of 111-93.
The Skinny: The Nets came out with great energy – especially Reggie Evans who had six points and six rebounds (three offensive) in the first five minutes as part of a 16-2 Nets’ run. Brook Lopez was dominant in the paint, scoring 11 points in the quarter to help Brooklyn open a 20-point lead after one. Evans finished one point shy of a double-double in the opening frame after tallying nine points and 10 rebounds. Evans himself had seven more boards in the first quarter than the entire Portland team (three).
Andray Blatche started the second quarter on a 7-0 run all by himself to increase the Nets’ lead to 27. The Trail Blazers finally gained some confidence at the offensive end, with LaMarcus Aldridge heating up. But that effort made little dent into Brooklyn’s big lead, which was 23 at the break.
Portland kept up its improved offensive pace to start the third quarter, but Lopez continued to dominate in the paint. The Nets eventually opened a 30-point lead in the quarter and led by 26 after three.
The Nets’ second unit really didn’t let up at all to start the fourth quarter. Portland chipped away to get within 14 with six minutes remaining. But the Nets’ starters reentered and picked up the pace of the first three quarters to earn the win.
High Scorers: Lopez led all scorers with 28 points on 12-of-22 from the field. For the Trail Blazers, Aldridge led the way with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
Key Stats: The Nets held a 74-38 advantage in points in the paint. Brooklyn also outrebounded Portland 54-40.
Who Was Hot: Evans finished with a double-double, matching a career-high with 22 points and setting a new career-high with 26 rebounds. It was the first 20-20 game of his career, and the first Nets 20-20 game since Richard Jefferson accomplished the feat in 2004. Despite not shooting well, Deron Williams dished out a game-high 10 assists.
Who Was Not: Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, J.J. Hickson and Damian Lillard came into the contest averaging a combined 61.8 points per game, but they scored just 34 points in this one.
Fun Fact: The Nets came into the game with a 5-32 franchise record in Portland, but the win matches the 2005-2006 team for the highest road win total (20) for a single season in team history. Brooklyn has six road games remaining.
Jim Mancari, ContributorEven without Joe Johnson, the Nets came out hot and did not let up until early in the fourth quarter, despite having lost eight of their last nine games to the Trail Blazers. Portland made a few mini-runs, but the Nets’ cushion was so large that it didn’t matter.
Evans and Lopez were unstoppable in this one. But Evans really continues to amaze. Sometimes it doesn’t look too pretty – especially at the free-throw line – but the guy gets the job done.
The Nets are now 4-1 on this eight-game road trip, which sets a new franchise high mark of wins on a road trip of at least seven games. Brooklyn is also now 15-7 in its last 22 road games, which certainly bodes well for a potential playoff run.
The Nets have won their last eight games in which they’ve scored 100 or more points and are now 19-3 on the year when they crack the century mark. The team is also 13 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Brooklyn (42-29) returns to action Friday night in Denver against the Nuggets, who recently reeled off a 15-game winning streak. The 9 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.