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Nets at Trail Blazers: Depleted Portland Squad Sends Brooklyn Home Unhappy, 97-87

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Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Before Saturday's game, Brooklyn Nets (4-5) had their first losing streak of the season with losses to the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. In Portland, the Nets looked to end their trip with a victory against a tough (7-3) but depleted Portland Trail Blazers team; one without LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.

However, as we know, any game on the road vs. a playoff-caliber team can be trouble. The Nets learned that the hard way Saturday night as they were flattened by the Blazers, 97-87. The Nets' 3-of-16 three point struggle Thursday night carried over to Saturday, as Brooklyn finished the night in Portland shooting 1-of-19 from three, with the one going down in the last 30 seconds of the game. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Blazers finished 42% from three and the same overall, while out-assisting the Nets, 26-15 -- more evidence of the Nets' lack of ball movement and poor execution. Excluding Jarrett Jack, the Nets' bench was held to just five points on 1-of-14 shooting. Even with Jack, Portland's bench still outscored Brooklyn's bench 34-15.

The Nets end the three-game West-Coast trip having lost all three games, and head back to Brooklyn with a 4-5 record. Lionel Hollins said the Nets remain positive despite finishing the trip 0-2. "Why shouldn't we be positive?" he asked. "That's the question I would ask you."

"This is a sorry way to end the road trip," said Deron Williams. "We thought we would get a couple of these, instead we walk away with none." However, he said the Nets "are still together. No one is pointing fingers."

Once again, Andrei Kirilenko received a DNP-CD. So far, this season, he's played a total of 27 minutes, 10 in the last five games.

Top performers for Brooklyn: Brook Lopez led the way for Brooklyn scorers with 21 points on an efficient 10-of-17 shooting, but finished the game with only four rebounds. Joe Johnson followed up with 20 points of his own, while Kevin Garnett finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Deron Williams also chipped in 19 points and six assists. Williams ends his three game trip averaging 17 points per game.

Top performers for Portland: Damian Lillard led all Portland scorers with 28 points, 10 assists and five rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting. Chris Kaman also chipped in 12 points on a dreadful 3-of-11 shooting while Brook's twin brother Robin, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Negative performers for Brooklyn: The entire Nets bench. Excluding Jack, they finished 1-of-14 from the field for a combined five points. Even Jack, who finished with 10 points, shot a poor 4-of-12 from the field. Bojan Bogdanovic also struggled to catch fire as he finished with zero points on 0-of-5 shooting in 28 minutes of action.

Quarter by quarter summary:

The Nets' numbers early painted a perfect picture for how the first quarter went: nine personal fouls to represent how slow the pace was; Five turnovers to show how careless they were with the basketball, and a minimal of two assists to display their lack of ball movement.

It was somewhat of a wasted quarter for Brooklyn with Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Mason Plumlee all forced to sit out early in the quarter due to foul trouble. Without them, the Nets shot a dreadful 26% from the field and allowed the Trail Blazers to grab five offensive rebounds. They trailed 24-15 after one.

The return of Lopez and Williams in the second quarter made all the difference offensively for Brooklyn, but it still wasn't enough to make up any ground. The Blazers commanded the pace and the score in the first half, while the Nets were off and extremely limited with their offensive weapons.

Williams finished the half with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting while Brook Lopez led all scorers with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, but grabbed only one rebound. Still, the Nets were struggling. Aside from Lopez, Williams, Johnson and Garnett who combined for 36 points on 16-of-30 from the floor, the rest of the Nets were 0-of-14 for just three points.

They finished the half shooting 0-of-8 from three, 38% from the field, while the bench was held without a field goal, finishing the half being outscored, 17-3. Fortunately for Brooklyn, they were only outscored 26-24 in the second quarter and trailed by 11 heading into break.

It could've been a lot worse. Better yet, it should've been MUCH worse.

The score at the half: Trail Blazers 50, Nets 39.

The Nets found themselves down by as much as 16 in the third, but were able to fight their way back and cut the deficit to single-digits.... momentarily. Once again, the Nets' rebounding woes was the epicenter of their poor play. Every time they appeared to be making a run, the Blazers would either sink an open three or chase down an offensive board and capitalize on the Brooklyn's poor effort. They trailed 35-29 on the glass and Damian Lillard was chewing their defense up. He was headed into the fourth quarter with 20 points and eight assists on 7-of-12 shooting.

The Nets were still held without a three, finishing three quarters 0-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Blazers led the Nets, 79-66.

This game heading into the fourth and throughout the fourth was extremely similar to the most recent game against the Golden State Warriors. The Nets were down in almost every statistical category, but somehow managed to make this a close game. It was late, but as they say, better late than never.

The Nets cut the deficit all the way down to six with two minutes remaining, but an offensive rebound then three pointer from Wesley Matthews ended the Nets run and put the Blazers up nine. It was the perfect depiction of not only how the Nets night ended, but how the entire three-game trip went.

Ultimately the Nets' 1-for-19 shooting from three doomed them in this one. The Blazers on the other hand shot 42% from three, 42% overall and out-assisted the Nets 26-15 -- more evidence of the Nets' poor shooting and lack of ball movement. The Nets had committed five first quarter turnovers, but finished the game with just nine. One of the few aspects of their game that ended well.

Final score: Trail Blazers 97, Nets 87.

The Nets will go home and match up against the Miami Heat, Monday at 7:30pm.

For more on the Portland Trail Blazers, check them out at Blazer's Edge.