The Portland Trailblazers needed a win against the Brooklyn Nets to stay within striking distance of the 8th and finally seed in the Western conference. They did just that. The Trailblazers sent the Nets packing home with a 130-116 victory.
In the first half, the Nets kept the game very close with putting pressure on the Trailblazers’ defense. They were efficient with getting to the line, inside the paint, and scored 30 points combined in the first half.
“We have to do better, be better on the defensive side of the ball. I know we had a lead on them, but for them to stay in the game after we lead majority of the game was disappointing. In order for us to have a chance getting the eight seed, we have to tighten our defense up, said” Damian Lillard.
Lillard did not have a great game because the Nets put a taller defender on him and collapsed on him when he attempted to drive down the lane. “It was a bit difficult for me, but I am a leader. As a general, you have to make sure that you lead your troops by example. There were some times I was open, but I passed up the shot and kicked it to the open man. We won this game by playing together,” said Lillard.
Portland was clinging onto a one point lead by halftime. The halftime score was 58-57.
In the second half, Portland decided to end any chance of any comebacks from the Nets. They decided to go back to their bread and butter offensive strategy with a pick and roll or pick and pop, which opened the doors for their three point shooters. Maurice Harkless and CJ McCollum got hot in the third quarter and continued shooting around 40% from three point land. Harkless finished the game with 19, while McCollum finished the game with 31.
“I just got hot. I knew that they were playing a bit off of me and I took advantage. This was not an individual win, but a team win,” said McCollum
Despite the Nets loss, Brook Lopez demanded the ball and destroyed Portland’s zone. He finished with 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 18 in a loss.
With a 130-116 victory over the Nets, Portland is two and a half games back from the Denver Nuggets. Currently, the Nuggets sit at the eighth position and lost to the Hornets on Saturday.
With a few weeks until the playoffs, Portland needs to stay consistent and be aggressive in their approach of upsetting the Nuggets for that finally spot out in the West. It will be interesting to see if they can keep this win streak up.