Finally. The New Jersey Nets were able to hold on late to secure a victory.
The Nets battled to a 98-96 win over the tenacious Portland Trailblazers tonight. The lovely Kim Kardashian on hand in Newark to witness a well-played game, on both ends, to see the Nets earn their sixth win of the year.
Coming off a fourth quarter collapse to the 76ers on Saturday, Avery Johnson’s crew needed a solid bounce back performance. The Trailblazers scored 26 points in each of the first three quarters, but New Jersey caught fire at the right time in the fourth.
Kris Humphries came out sharp for the Nets scoring six early points. The score was tied at 10 through six minutes, but then Brook Lopez took over. He recorded eight points in the quarter.
The Nets jumped out in front by five, but Portland put up ten straight points to take the lead. New Jersey wasn’t even getting shot opportunities due to turnovers and fouls. After one, the Trailblazers led 26-23.
The Nets opened the second quarter with five straight points, including a Troy Murphy short range jumper which gave them the lead. Murphy had been inactive since early November.
Portland fought right back for the tie and took back the lead. They continuously pulled down offensive rebounds giving them second shot chances. Brandon Roy had the hot hand in the second quarter, finishing the first half with 15 points. Lamarcus Aldridge added 12 first half points.
Following a few back and forth lead changes, Portland opened the lead as much as nine points. They led 52-44 at half after an 11-3 run.
Anthony Morrow came out strong in the second half scoring six early points. But Portland wound up opening a 12 point lead. The Nets then went on their own 8-0 run to cut the lead to four.
The exciting third quarter continued when Devin Harris scored five straight points, including a clutch three to tie the game at 64. The Trailblazers again took the lead, and after three the game sat at 78-73 Portland.
The Nets got some good minutes from rookie Derrick Favors off the bench in the second half, with eight points and four rebounds.
New Jersey kept clawing away at the lead until they finally tied the game at 87 with two minutes to go. Harris set up Humphries beautifully on a layup to give the Nets the lead.
Portland’s Wesley Matthews immediately hit a high arching jumper to tie the game. But Harris came up big again, hitting a three to put the Nets up 92-89.
After a Portland timeout, Andre Miller flung up an air ball, but Aldridge controlled it and was fouled. He hit one-of-two free throws. The Nets then called a timeout.
Matthews fouled Travis Outlaw, who did not look great tonight against his former team. But he hit two clutch free throws to give the Nets a four point lead. Harris hit two more free throws, but Matthews answered right back with a three.
Morrow hit both of his free throws, which sealed the win. Matthews answered with another three, but it was not enough.
Harris and Matthews each finished with 25 points. Harris also added eight assists.
The Nets cross the river Tuesday to take on the Knicks as they look to build on their tremendous performance against Portland.