Trail Blazers 108, Nets 98

Joe Pantorno, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The Portland Trail Blazers outscored the Brooklyn Nets 52-35 in the second half in order to overcome their host's best first half of basketball this season on their way to a 108-98 victory on Monday night.
Portland (9-2) was led by the three-headed attack of guards Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews and forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Showing his prowess from long range, Matthews scored 25 points, 15 of them coming from beyond the arc (five of eight 3-pointers) while Lillard carved open the Nets defense with dynamic drives, scoring 19.
Aldridge who set up shop at mid-range, used his quick release to his advantage, scoring 27 points.
The Nets' stellar first half included 63 points in the first half on 22-of-44 shooting, but the second half was the polar opposite, as they were held to just 35 points on eight-of-40 shooting.
Led by a second-half surge from Aldridge, who scored 19 in the final two quarters, the Blazers' stellar offense remained consistent while the Nets offense sputtered, allowing Portland to build a comfortable lead.
Missing center Brook Lopez and guard Deron Williams to injury, Brooklyn (3-7) showed its depth and play-making ability. A brand of aggressive play that has been rare in Brooklyn was sparked by forward Kevin Garnett's hot start. The veteran recorded a season high in scoring in the game's first five minutes, knocking down 12 points on six-of-six shooting. He finished the game with 16.
His play had the Nets leading by as many as 11 in the first half and the Blazers shooting for their lives.
Matthews managed to match Garnett's hot start by knocking down his first four 3-point attempts while not allowing the Nets to pull away.
Guard Shaun Livingston, Williams' replacement, carried the Nets offense, dropping 23 points, including a highlight reel, left-handed slam over Portland center Robin Lopez.
One of the top-10 shooting teams in the league, Portland was gun-slinging at the Barclays Center with its host. Both offenses were scorching to start. The Nets scored on 16 of its first 17 possessions and went 14-for-19 from the field in the first quarter while Portland shot just as well at 13-of-18.
While the Nets' first half was extraordinary by this season's standards, the Blazers' output was expected as the visitors were able to stay with Brooklyn every step of the way.
The second half did not provide the same offensive fireworks as the first half as the offenses sputtered. The Blazers, who had trailed the entire first half, managed to wipe away a six-point halftime deficit, outscoring the Nets 27-15 in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game.
NOTES: The Nets are dealing with an injury wave. G Deron Williams and C Brook Lopez did not play against the Blazers due to sprained left ankles. F Andrei Kirilenko sat out because of back spasms. ... Nets F Paul Pierce (sore left groin) and F Kevin Garnett (sprained right ankle) played despite their ailments. ... The Blazers brought in the NBA's eighth-best offense into play Monday night, averaging 104.6 points per game. ... Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with an average of 22.2 points per game, ninth in the league through Sunday.

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