Nets 98, Blazers 85

Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Joe Johnson scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half as the Brooklyn Nets won their second straight game, a 98-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, showing a solid defensive effort in the fourth quarter once again.
After holding the Los Angeles Clippers to 13 fourth-quarter points Friday, the Nets held the Blazers to just 15 points in the final quarter Sunday.
Deron Williams had a solid 15 points, 12 assists and a career-best four blocked shots for the Nets (8-4) won their fifth straight home game and improved to 6-1 overall at their new $1 billion home, the Barclays Center.
Brook Lopez had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Nets, and Kris Humphries had 14 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season, for the winners. Andray Blatche added 13 off the bench for the Nets.
Portland (6-7), which began a seven-game road trip with the loss, received 20 points from Wesley Matthews and 19 from J.J. Hickson. Rookie Damian Lillard was held to just 13 points, seven off his season average.
The Nets took command of the see-saw contest midway through the fourth quarter, scoring five straight points from the bench and nine straight overall. C.J. Watson drained a 3-pointer with 8:04 left and Reggie Evans, who once again reached double figures in rebounds in limited minutes off the bench, made two free throws, pushing the lead to 79-74 with 6:47 left. Evans finished the game with 14 rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Lopez pushed the lead to 81-74 with a thunderous slam and Johnson canned a lane jumper, capping the run and giving the Nets an 83-74 lead with 5:44 remaining.
Gerald Wallace, who missed his first seven shots from the floor, made a driving layup in the paint that gave the Nets a comfortable 89-78 lead with 3:55 left.
The Nets got the most of the early action, taking an early nine-point lead on 14-5, thanks to the sweet shooting touch of Johnson, who had seven points in a 12-0 Nets run over a 3:23 span.
The Blazers found their shooting touch, thanks to Matthews and rookies Lillard and Leonard. Matthews had eight points, Lillard had six and Leonard four in the final four minutes for Portland.
Leonard, the 7-1 first-round draft pick from Illinois, started in place of forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who sat out the game with back spasms. His fall-away jumper from 18 feet gave the Blazers a 27-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Nets were able to tie the game at 38-38 on a three-point play from Lopez.
The Blazers held the lead for the rest of the first half, with Hickson scoring on a power move in the final minute to give Portland a 50-46 at the break.
Leonard was the Blazers' leading scorer at the half with 12 points, while Matthews and Lillard had 11 each. Johnson paced the Nets at halftime with 17 points.
Matthews continued his torrid hand in the third quarter, scoring four straight points with 2:11 remaining in the third, as Portland led 68-63, capping a 7-0 run.
Keith Bogans canned a long 3-pointer that tied the game once again at 68-68 with 1:13 left in the period.
MarShon Brooks, who has been lost in the Nets' rotation of late, scored a driving basket as the third quarter ended, tying the game at 70-70 as the fourth quarter began.
NOTES: Lillard, the surprising rookie out of Weber State, entered the game averaging 20.2 points per game. He was the first rookie to average 20 points and six assists per game in his first eight NBA games since Oscar Robertson almost 50 years ago...The Blazers are the only team in the NBA to average all five starters in double figures and the only one with three players (Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Aldridge) averaging 19 points or more so far this season...After three periods, Portland had no points whatsoever from the bench...Deron Williams had a career-best four blocked shots...Former MLB slugger Darryl Strawberry was in attendance, doing an NBA doubleheader Sunday, as Strawberry earlier attended the Knicks-Detroit game at Madison Square Garden...Actress Rosie Perez, a Brooklyn native, was also spotted in the crowd.

  • Steelers want NFL to investigate Ndamukong Suh kicking Ben Roethlisberger

    Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh won’t get the benefit of the doubt from many people when it comes to a dirty play. The Pittsburgh Steelers were not happy over a play last week in which Suh appeared to kick their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. The play happened in the fourth quarter, long after Roethlisberger tore the meniscus in his left knee (that injury will keep him out an estimated four-to-six weeks).

    Shutdown Corner
  • Indians fans find Ryan Merritt's wedding registry and show their gratitude

    It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ryan Merritt. After Merritt shut down the Toronto Blue Jays, deliriously grateful Indians fans found the wedding registry that belongs to Merritt and his fianceé Sarah Brushaber.

    Big League Stew
  • Bobby Hull apologists rally after Jets Hall of Fame no-show

    Bobby Hull chose not to attend his induction into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame this week, in which he and his “Hot Line” linemates Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson were its first honored members. Yes, that of course is the real shock.

    Puck Daddy
  • Klein to be paired with Staal against the Red Wings on Wednesday

    Alain Vigneault confirmed today that Kevin Klein will return to the Rangers lineup tonight and will be paired with Marc Staal. (NYR) Klein and Staal have played 929 minutes together since they have been teammates and when they are on the ice at 5-on-5 the Rangers have scored 53% of the goals but only had 45.3% of the shot attempts. ( Ryan McDonagh will remain paired with Nick Holden on the right side and Brady Skjei will skate with Adam Clendening. Dylan McIlrath will be a healthy scratch an Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal.

  • Favorable Notice of Allegations will benefit both Rick Pitino, Louisville

    Louisville coach Rick Pitino could face a suspension. The most noteworthy aspect of the Notice of Allegations released Thursday by Louisville is what it doesn’t contain. There was not one word from the man who could have done the most damage to Rick Pitino and the Cardinals basketball program.

    The Dagger
  • Should the Mets acquire Maybin?

    In a post brainstorming trade ideas for this winter, Tigers fan and FanSided contributor Ben Rosener suggests Detroit send OF Cameron Maybin and utility-man Andrew Romine to the Mets for Juan Lagares and two prospects. Maybin, 29, hit .315 with a .383 OBP, four home runs, 14 doubles, 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 94 games for the Tigers in 2016. He is a career .259 hitter during roughly 3,000 plate appearances. Maybin will earn $9 million in 2017, after which he is eligible to be a free agent. Romine, 30, hit .236 with just two HR, eight stolen bases and 16 RBI, while playing every position in 2016, including pitching one inning in relief. Tigers GM Al Avila recently told local reporters that

  • Hellmann’s sponsoring Sprint Cup race at Talladega

    Just a few days before Talladega Superspeedway hosts its second NASCAR weekend of the season, the track has announced a title sponsor for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. Originally called the Alabama 500, the 188-lap race is now labelled the Hellmann’s 500. Hellmann’s, a long-time sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and JR Motorsports, produces Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise. The Hellmann’s 500 is the second elimination race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and whittle the Chase field from 12 to eight drivers. The race can be seen at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

    NASCAR Talk
  • Why Arsenal will finally take a step forward in the Champions League (no, seriously)

    Mesut Ozil celebrates the second of his three goals against Ludogorets. For Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, something feels a bit different this season. A 6-0 destruction of Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday has Arsenal level on points with Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Group A, but the remaining head-to-head fixture against the French champions will take place at the Emirates Stadium in London.

    FC Yahoo
  • Yakupov returns to Edmonton, playing noteworthy role with Blues

    Nail Yakupov returns to Edmonton tonight, for the first time since the Oct. 7 trade that sent him to St. Louis. To nobody’s surprise, Yakupov wants to make a statement to the team that dealt him away. “I’d like to get two points here in this building for sure,” Yakupov told reporters, per Global News. “Can’t wait.” The first overall pick in 2012, Yakupov struggled through four erratic campaigns in Edmonton before getting a much-needed change of scenery. Though things started well — as a rookie, he scored 17 goals and 31 points during the 48-game lockout campaign — but eventually got to the point where the speedy Russian was playing a complimentary role, at best, in Edmonton’s forward group. There

  • NFL Awards Watch: The resurrection of MVP front-runner Matt Ryan

    While recognizing this isn’t the best way to judge public perception, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s average fantasy football draft position before this season is telling. Ryan was coming off a mediocre season. Ryan was being drafted in Yahoo fantasy leagues, on average, 28th among NFL quarterbacks.

    Shutdown Corner
  • What Vin Scully did instead of attending NLCS Game 4 at Dodger Stadium

    Instead, in broadcast booth No. 1 in the Vin Scully press box, his seat is filled by Fox’s play-by-play duo of Joe Buck and John Smoltz. Now, this isn’t a surprise, Vin retired and said there would be no postseason assignment because you can only really say goodbye once. Vin isn’t anywhere in Dodger Stadium — unless you count the various pictures and tributes.

    Big League Stew
  • Hossa's journey to 500 goals; Ottawa's attendance issues (Puck Headlines)

    Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. • Mini Pekka Rinne watches the Nashville Predators take on the Dallas Stars. • Why has home attendance become an issue for the Ottawa Senators?

    Puck Daddy
  • Ex-marketing executive pleads guilty in U.S. bribery probe of FIFA

    Aaron Davidson, former president of the Miami-based unit of Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate Traffic Group, entered his plea in federal court in Brooklyn to charges of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. Davidson, who also agreed to forfeit $507,900, is one of 42 individuals and entities charged as part of a U.S. investigation that upended Zurich-based FIFA and the soccer world, and one of 18 people and two companies to plead guilty. In court, Davidson, 45, admitted he participated in schemes to direct $14.1 million in bribes to Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

  • Who will win - Arkansas or Auburn?

    Yahoo Sports looks at the key matchups for Saturday's SEC battle in Auburn.

    Yahoo Sports Videos
  • Here are your United States Grand Prix times on NBC, NBCSN

    This week, Formula 1 heads to the United States for the fifth United States Grand Prix to be held at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. It seems hard to believe this is the fifth running here already, but it is. The championship battle rages between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes AMG Petronas duo separated by 33 points, with Rosberg ahead. Here are the full times and details for this weekend’s coverage, with race coverage starting Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Lights out is at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT and local time, from Austin. We should also note Off the Grid: Austria premieres at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, following coverage of Practice 1 on Friday. Mercedes teammates Lewis

  • Elton Brand retires after 17 NBA seasons

    Elton Brand received one first place MVP vote in 2005-06. Elton Brand retired from the NBA on Thursday. The two-time All-Star and 1999-00 co-Rookie of the Year was set to begin his 18th season as a pro with the Philadelphia 76ers this fall when he apparently decided that enough was enough.

    Ball Don't Lie
  • Jimmy Howard makes statement, but knows his place with Red Wings

    The New York Rangers skated in on Jimmy Howard in waves. The scoreboard at the end of the Detroit Red Wings’ 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden read ’32 saves,’ but that was a shallow evaluation of Howard’s night: The breakaways, odd-man rushes and high-percentage scoring chances he stopped en route to that victory. It was Howard’s first appearance since April 15, when he gave up four goals on 30 shots in Game 2 of the Wings’ first-round loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Puck Daddy
  • Brian Campbell expected to be healthy scratch

    Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell is expected to be a healthy scratch Friday in Columbus, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s a somewhat surprising development considering the attention Campbell’s return to Chicago was given over the summer, but the ‘Hawks have eight defensemen on the roster and that means, when everyone’s healthy, two have to sit each game. “We don’t want the same two guys sitting out all the time,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “Sometimes you don’t want to tinker with a winning lineup, and sometimes . . . you’ve got to get them in there to play. That’s what we’re visiting.” The Sun-Times says to expect Trevor van Riemsdyk to get back into the lineup against the

  • UEFA Europa League preview: RVP ready for “special” Old Trafford return

    We’ve got a Champions League-level match down in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, highlighted by an Old Trafford visit by a Turkish giant. Old pal Robin Van Persie and Fenerbahce visit Manchester United on Thursday, and the home side would do well with all three points. Fener has a road draw at Zorya and a home win versus Feyenoord, while United beat Zorya after losing in the Netherlands. “In the last match I had a game against one of my first teams, Feyenoord, and next it’s United,” Van Persie said on “I am looking forward to it. I am now playing for Fenerbahce and I want to do well for my team but of course it will be special to play ‘at home’ [Old Trafford] in a great stadium

  • The Cubs aren't World Series favorites for the first time this season

    It hasn’t been a great week for the Chicago Cubs. Well, this news isn’t going to make the Cubs (or Cubs fans) feel any better. For the first time in the entire 2016 season, the Cubs are no longer favored to win the World Series.

    Big League Stew
  • Hot Seat Index: Trent Baalke has made a mess of the 49ers

    Colleague Frank Schwab did a thorough job breaking down why the San Francisco 49ers are the worst team in the NFL right now, and could remain at or near the bottom of the league for a while. From subpar drafts to an avoidance (refusal?) to sign big-money free agents to his force-out of coach Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season, general manager Trent Baalke has made a mess of the Niners. As Schwab notes, Baalke and the team did have to deal with an almost unprecedented offseason in 2015, as a litany of key players decided to retire.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Fox Sports' Nick Wright: Giants QB Eli Manning is a bad teammate

    On Monday, a day removed from a 27-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning appeared on WFAN radio with Mike Francesa. After being bombarded with questions about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Manning finally said “you could get sick” of OBJ’s antics if he’s not performing well. The comments caused immediate backlash for Manning. And after months of people criticizing him for defending Beckham Jr., those very same people began criticizing him for not defending Beckham Jr. firmly enough. Manning clarified his WFAN comments on Tuesday, saying his words had been twisted around by the media and that he was specifically referring to reporters when making those

    Giants Wire
  • Georges St-Pierre's lawyer calls UFC contract a 'form of slavery'

    The standoff between the UFC and Georges St-Pierre is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. After St-Pierre rocked the MMA community with his declaration that he is no longer under contract with the UFC, the company promptly responded that the former welterweight champion remained under an existing agreement with the promotion. The language in that contract is something that St-Pierre’s lawyer, James Quinn of New York firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, suggested was a “form of slavery,” according to MMA Fighting.

  • Matt Murray, Penguins agree on new three-year deal; end for Fleury?

    Pittsburgh Penguins playoff savior Matt Murray just returned to practice this week as his broken hand, suffered in the World Cup of Hockey, heals up. The Penguins announced that Murray has signed a three-year deal that kicks in after the 2016-17 season. This means the Penguins would, in theory, have over $9 million committed to their salary cap next season between Murray and Fleury.

    Puck Daddy
  • Here's how to live-stream NBA games in virtual reality this season

    The NBA and NextVR are teaming up to live-stream one game per week in virtual reality this season. If you have ever wanted to know what it would be like to have a referee’s view of reigning unanimous NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry throwing his mouthguard into the stands during the Golden State Warriors’ 3-1 meltdown against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, then you’re in luck. The league has teamed with California-based company NextVR to live-stream broadcast one game each week in virtual reality this season, according to multiple reports in the technology news space.

    Ball Don't Lie