Tuesday, March 23: Nets 116, Trail Blazers 112
The skinny: There wasn't any magic happening for Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers against Brooklyn on Tuesday at Moda Center.
The Nets held Lillard scoreless in the fourth quarter, and James Harden's new team beat the Trail Blazers 116-112.
Harden was questionable for the game with neck soreness, and then was made available and all the former Houston Rockets star did was score 25 points and dish out 17 assists as the Nets moved to 30-14. An injured Kevin Durant and a missing Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) didn't play for the Nets, and they still won.
Brooklyn took the lead with 11:27 left on two Joe Harris free throws, and never let it go, although Portland (25-18) came within a basket of tying the game on several occasions.
Derrick Jones Jr. dunked and the Blazers trailed 114-111. CJ McCollum and Robert Covington missed 3-pointers. Later, Covington made one free throw to make it 114-112.
But, after a couple Portland fouls, Jeff Green sealed the game with two free throws with 4.4 seconds left. Lillard missed a 3-pointer at the end.
Lillard scored five points in the fourth quarter and none in the fourth to finish with 22 points to lead seven players in double figures. He also had nine assists. He shot 5 of 17 from the floor (3 of 14 3-pointers) and McCollum went 5 of 19 (4 of 12 3-pointers). They combined to go 1 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
Enes Kanter added 19 points and 19 rebounds (10 offensive).
The Blazers went 19 of 55 on 3-pointers (.345), scoring 30 more points than Brooklyn from long range, and shot .400 overall.
Green had 20 points for Brooklyn.
Little, Simons: Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons missed the game because of health and safety protocol.
Little missed several games earlier in the year after he contracted COVID-19.
Kanter's night: The steady post Kanter added six assists to his 19-and-19 game in 40 minutes. He's been such a solid player in the absence of Jusuf Nurkic.
"Enes brought what he always does," coach Terry Stotts said. "Enes was terrific. Sometimes I'm surprised he can come up with the ball (on rebounds). He has great hands, and he's persistent."
Quotable: "It was a very competitive game, neither team had a double-digit lead. It wasn't like our last game against Dallas (40-point loss)," Stotts said. "We gotta go on the road and get some wins. I thought we played hard."
Next up: The Trail Blazers play three games on the road in Florida — 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Miami, 5 p.m. Friday at Orlando and 5 p.m. Sunday vs. Toronto at Tampa, Florida (where the Raptors play home games in 2020-21 season) — and then at Detroit, 4 p.m. March 31.
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