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Lillard, Nurkic rally Portland as Nets fall late, 127-125

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

That one hurt.

In a rare weekday noon start, the Portland Trail Blazers (11-8) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (6-12), 127-125, Friday afternoon at Barclays Center. It was a game the Nets led for most of the way, one they probably should’ve had, but bad teams find ways to lose games. Good teams find ways to win. And veteran teams know how to win late.


It was a seesaw battle throughout the second half, but the final two minutes dictated the outcome.

The Nets hit their first seven shots of the quarter and things looked good. The problem? They only led by three, as Portland wouldn’t let go. They extended the lead at 121-115, but the Trail Blazers answered with an 8-0 run capped off by a Shabazz Napier and-one.

The teams exchanged buckets and/or free throws and it led to a 127-125 lead for Portland with 11 seconds left, Nets ball.

Spencer Dinwiddie had the hot hand but the Nets starting point guard’s final shot just barely rimmed out on a 3-pointer that would’ve put the Nets up. Jusuf Nurkic missed both free throws, but the Nets didn’t have any timeouts remaining, which forced a heave with 0.8 second left. No good.

“None of the guys in the locker room play for moral victories, we’re playing to get wins every game. So it was tough to put in that effort and come up short,” said Dinwiddie.

Damian Lillard scored 19 of his 34 points in the second half to go along with nine assists.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got the assignment on him in the fourth and forced him to just four points on 0-for-3 shooting. Besides Lillard and C.J. McCollom who tallied 26, Jusef Nurkic was big, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds.

The Nets dominated the first 24 minutes of the game, something they haven’t done of late, but Portland took over when the Nets went ‘super small’ with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the 5. The Nets owned an 11-point lead twice in the half, but Portland finished on a 16-7 run and minimalized Brooklyn’s solid first-half by cutting the deficit to two at half.

Little things like that keep other teams in the game. The Nets out-played them most of the night but it didn’t show by night’s end. It was perhaps one of their tougher losses of the season.

It was the first time all season that all five of Brooklyn’s starters finished in double figures. Nine players scored in double figures, led by Spencer Dinwiddie’s 23 points and six assists (zero turnovers). Dinwiddie scored 15 of his 23 in the second half, controlling the offense and playing within the system with D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin out.

The Nets scored a season-high 66 points in the paint and shot 10-of-25 from three.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had another solid game with 17 points and Joe Harris hit three 3-pointers off the bench. Playing backup point, Caris LeVert continued his good play of late with 14 points and six rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting. Rookie Jarrett Allen finished with nine points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes.


Just when you thought Brooklyn’s schedule might get easier, they’re set to head out for a three-game road-trip against the Grizzlies, Mavericks and Rockets. The Nets are 2-7 away from Barclays Center this season where they’re scoring six fewer points per game.


The Nets have lost four of the last five and have squandered the last two games in the final moments. It’s only getting tougher. Improvement is great to discuss until you start losing winnable games down the stretch.

For a different perspective, head on over to Blazers’ Edge