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Nets fall to 3-7 on the season; Blazers pick up their 7th straight victory, winning 108-98

Maddie Meyer

BROOKLYN - The Nets returned home on Monday to take on a red-hot Portland Trail Blazers team that entered the night having won six straight games. While, on the Brooklyn side of things, the Nets were playing without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez or Andrei Kirilenko. After a 1-2 road trip things weren't going to get any easier.

What started off as a thing of beauty turned ugly, really quick. After Brooklyn played one of the most impressive 12 minutes of basketball to start the game, thereafter things just didn't click. The Nets struggled mightily, especially in the second half, and fell to the Blazers, 108-98.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returned to the lineup for the Nets, with Garnett's presence paying early dividends. He hit his first six shots of the game, scoring the Nets' first 10 points. It was vintage KG, for sure. As a team, the Nets shot 73.7 percent from the floor and scored a season-high 40 first-quarter points.

The Blazers came out firing as well, with Wesley Matthews hitting four three pointers in the first five minutes of the game. Even as the Nets' offense was clicking early, they couldn't get stops defensively, which allowed the Blazers to hang with them, as Portland shot 72.2 percent in the first.

Things slowed down significantly from there, as was expected, though the Nets were able to maintain a lead throughout the second quarter, going up  63-56 at the half.

In the second half, Garnett couldn't buy a bucket, as they say in the business. He missed 10 of his next 12 shots, in just an unbelievable turn. What started off as a clinic from the future Hall of Famer turned into a disaster of a second half.

Brooklyn faced their usual third quarter struggles, scoring just six points in the first 7-plus minutes, and ended up shooting 3-of-18 in the quarter, while the Blazers continued to chip away. In the end, the Nets found themselves down 83-78 after three.

In the fourth, it was more of the same. The Nets found the Blazers building on their double-digit lead and, before they knew it, they had fallen to the Blazers, 108-98.

In sum:

Shaun Livingston was once again asked to take on a tall task. First it was Chris Paul, on Saturday, while tonight he was up against Damian Lillard. Livingston was a nice spark in the first half, but like every other Net, he was essentially a no-show in the second half. He finished with 23 points and two assists in 29 minutes.

Lillard was as advertised, scoring 19 points to go along with nine assists and just one turnover. He teaming up with LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points) and Wesley Matthews (24 points) to keep the Blazers offense humming.

After the game, things turned even uglier.  Jason Kidd took responsibility of the loss, saying it was due to, "Bad coaching...I take the blame."  Then, the media was kept waiting outside the locker room for nearly a half hour. Once inside, they found few players and even fewer willing to talk. All in all, an embarrassment.

Up next: Wednesday night at the Charlotte Bobcats.

For more on the Blazers, see: Blazers Edge