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Trail Blazers hang on to best Nets

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers wrapped up their three-game homestand by defeating the New Jersey Nets, 101-88, Wednesday, in front of 20,464 at the Rose Garden.

    Portland (26-29) led by as many as 10 points in the first half but New Jersey (19-37) clawed back with a 12-4 run over the final three minutes to close to within two points, 46-44, at the break.

    The Trail Blazers turned it on offensively and defensively to open the third quarter, going on a 16-2 run sparked by Raymond Felton's three-pointer at the 10:29 mark and capped by LaMarcus Aldridge's putback five minutes later, pushing the Trail Blazers lead to 64-48, their largest of the contest.

    Portland won the third quarter 30-20 over the visitors thanks to 54.5 percent shooting, including 4-of-6 from long range, while holding the Nets to 34.6 percent shooting in the quarter.

    The Trail Blazers led by 12 points, 76-64, headed into the final stanza, where the Nets would put together a 19-4 run to lead 83-80 with 7:32 remaining. The Trail Blazers responded immediately to losing their lead, going on a 21-6 run over the final seven minutes to extend for the final margin.

    "We just calmed down," Nicolas  Batum said of the late turnaround. "We did something to get the lead so get back to it. Get back to it and just play defense first, rebound and then run offense, get the ball inside, run around and get some open shots. That’s what we needed."

    The Nets were held to 37.2 percent shooting for the game and gave up 10 steals to the Trail Blazers as part of their 16 turnovers.

    "Our defense was the type of defense that we want to play for 48 minutes. That’s our identity, that’s who we want to be," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "I thought it was a very good defensive effort tonight."

    Aldridge led all scorers with 24 points while pulling down nine rebounds, followed by Batum with 20 points, 10 rebounds, the Trail Blazers lone double-double and the second of back-to-back double-doubles for Batum, the first such occurrence of his career.

    "It was huge for us because we have a huge back to back coming on the road so we really needed this win tonight," Batum said.

    Felton again flirted with a triple-double, notching 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and nine assists. JJ Hickson led the reserves with 18 points and eight rebounds.

    New Jersey got 21 points, 11 rebounds from Kris Humphries for the lone Nets double-double, while reserves Gerald Green and Anthony Morrow chipped in 20 points each.

    Gerald Wallace was cheered by the Rose Garden crowd during pre-game introductions but had a quiet night for his new team, scoring eight points on 3-of-12 shooting while pulling down nine rebounds.

    Next, Portland opens up a road back-to-back in Dallas against the Mavericks Friday, 5:30 p.m., before heading to Milwaukee Saturday, 5:30 p.m., against the Bucks. Both games can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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