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Nets can't rally behind Lopez's 36 points and fall to Blazers, 112-104

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The circus is in Brooklyn, and no, we're not talking about the Nets.

It's actually Ringing Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus that comes around every season and forces the Nets to go on extensive road-trips.

The Nets, who won't play at home until March 13, lost the first game of their nine-game record-setting road-trip with a loss to Portland, 112-104, despite a season-high 36 points from Brook Lopez.  The Nets made a valiant effort of it, as they often do, coming back from a 19-point deficit and going ahead for a short time in the fourth.  But in the end, the Blazers just had too much athleticism, too much shooting.

The wins haven't come easy away from Barclays this season where the Nets now stand at 4-20. Another eight straight road games doesn't bode too well for the guys in black-and-white.

And this one got out of hand real quick. C.J. McCollum scored 21 points in the first half and nailed FOUR three-pointers The Nets, meanwhile, didn't hit any and went down by as many as 19.

It seemed like a lost cause before the third quarter even started.

Then, 33.5 minutes into the game, Joe Johnson nailed the first three of the night, and suddenly the Nets woke up. They jumped out on a 13-2 run and gained a 33-22 advantage in the third, cutting Portland's 19-point lead down to three.

Brook Lopez was unstoppable. The big fella was playing with a purpose and had 25 points entering the fourth quarter. His help was extremely limited to say the least -- with only two other players in double figures on the night.

The Nets and Blazers exchanged buckets throughout the fourth quarter in a surprisingly intense ending. The game was tied with two minutes remaining when CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard hit back-to-back three-pointers: Nets down six.

Brook Lopez brought it to within three shortly after, but the Nets couldn't execute on either side of the ball and the Blazers finished the game on an 11-3 run.

Lopez finished with a season-high 36 points --three below his career high-- along with four steals, matching a career-high and 10 rebounds. He was dominant and most impressively, he was angry. He fought down low, taking advantage of his ex teammate, Mason Plumlee, and an admirer, Myers Leonard, giving the Nets a 60-46 advantage inside the paint.

However, the help was scarce. Joe Johnson chipped in 19 points and Donald Sloan 14. That was it. Nobody else in double figures.

Meanwhile, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard each put home 34 points on 22-of-38 shooting. Last matchup between these two teams, the Nets allowed 116 points. Tonight? 112 points.

Without a legitimate point guard, it's easy to see why the Nets can't win games like this. Donald Sloan had four assists and Shane Larkin had three. That's one issue at hand, but not the only one. Their defense couldn't stop either of the Blazers guards.

Bojan Bogdanovic is once again in one of inconsistent streaks.  He had only five points on 1-of-7 shooting; Wayne Ellington looked like a liability on both ends with four points and a minus-4 in 19 minutes; As a team, three total three-pointers. The list goes on.

You wonder how they can let Lopez's 36-point night go to waste, but they managed to.

That's why they're 15-42.

Next up: Phoenix Suns on Thursday, 9:00 p.m.

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