EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Spurred by a video review of their recent failures, the Portland Trailblazers raced out to an early lead and never looked back in ending a four-game losing streak.
“We had a long film session about what we needed to do to be connected on both ends of the floor,” Blazers coach Nate McMillian said. “Our turnovers were down and we weren’t trying to force 3s. I thought it was our best all-around game.”
The Blazers hit 6 of 7 from the field at the start while the Nets struggled to find the basket, missing their first seven shots.
“We just didn’t come out in the first quarter and that was pretty much the game,” Kidd said. “We just didn’t have the energy that Portland did. They came out aggressive, made a lot of shots and we didn’t.”
The Nets shot 33 percent from the field (23-of-69) and were 20-of-32 from the free throw line as their string of games with 100 or more points ended at five.
“We just put ourselves in the hole,” Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. “You start pressing a little bit and start getting away from some rhythm opportunities.”
The Blazers led by as many as 18 and finished the opening quarter leading 25-8. Randolph set the pace with seven points and seven rebounds.
“We got them into the tempo we wanted to play,” Randolph said. “We slowed them down and they didn’t get to run. We came out hard and we needed a game like this.”
The eight points equaled the Nets’ record for fewest in an opening period.
Portland remained solidly in command with a 43-26 lead at the half as Jamaal Magloire came off the bench to score six points in the second quarter. New Jersey shot a frigid 8-for-34 through two periods.
The Nets made a push in the third, going on a 12-5 run. Kidd provided four points to cut Blazers’ lead to 52-42, but the rally stalled when the Blazers’ Martell Webster scored the next four points.
Portland rolled to a 67-48 lead after three and cruised through the final period.
The Nets showcased an alternate jersey: red, white letters and numbers with blue trim. …The Nets now embark on the annual Thanksgiving week road trip during which they play Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the last five years, the Nets have gone 8-16 on this trip. …The Nets have not set a date for Richard Jefferson’s return from a sprained left ankle. The forward missed a fifth straight game. “Richard’s heart wants him to be out on the court, but medically speaking, it’s not right now,” Frank said. … The Nets scored only eight points in the first quarter twice before: Feb. 12, 2003 vs. Memphis and Nov. 26, 2004 vs Seattle. …The 68 points was a season low for the Nets and the 18 points was their worst margin of defeat this year.