The Nets and Trail Blazers are facing different demons Saturday night in Portland. For the Nets, it's the impending trade of half the roster plus picks for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and parts. For the Blazers, it's the steady stream of injuries, some catastrophic, that have plagued them all season.
Two prospective starters, All-Star Brandon Roy and former #1 pick Greg Oden, are both gone for the season, as is rookie Elliot Williams. The result is an increasingly mediocre season that may not end in the playoffs. Portland is now 20-20, including two straight home losses and three overall. On Friday night, they lost, 115-111, in Phoenix, led by Wes Matthews' 26, filling in for Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge's 25. The Blazers' vaunted defense is no more.
For the Nets, no one can deny their effort the last two games, against the Suns and Lakers, but neither can anyone deny their need for a closer like Carmelo Anthony. After playing well in both games, in spite of trade rumors, they fell behind at the end as a superstar took over the game. The Nets had no one to counter.
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Game 41 Preview: Portland Trail Blazers versus New Jersey Nets - Dave - Blazersedge