Nets vs. Trail Blazers: 4th Quarter Meltdown Leads to New Jersey Loss

Ryan ComstockCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2011

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

After playing a good three quarters of basketball, the New Jersey Nets came undone in the fourth quarter, scoring just 13 points and losing to the Portland Trail Blazers, 96-89.

The Nets held a 78-74 lead early in the fourth, but were just five of 16 from the field in the final period and got careless with the ball towards the end.

With about a minute and a half left, Portland led by one and the Nets had a chance to take the lead if they could execute.

Instead, New Jersey had three turnovers in 30 seconds, allowing the Blazers to get ahead 92-87, and the home team never looked back.

The Nets have now lost five in a row and are winless in their last eight road games.

While New Jersey was, for most of the game, efficient on offense (they shot 50 percent) and did a good job of scoring in the paint (50 points), they were out-rebounded 40-30 and gave up 17 offensive boards to Portland.

The game also marked the second time in as many nights where the Nets were at a severe disadvantage in terms of free throw attempts, as New Jersey attempted just 12 while Portland put up 25 shots from the line.

Devin Harris has been struggling mightily with his shot lately, and Saturday night he was just three of 10 from the floor.

Sasha Vujacic is also proving to be quite streaky. He was six of 14 on field goals and one for six on threes for the game.

Looking for some positives now, Brook Lopez had his second-straight 30 point game. Against Portland he scored 32 on 12 of 19 shooting and got to the line eight times, converting on each try.

Kris Humphries had another solid game with 10 rebounds, and Travis Outlaw even had a decent night by scoring 11 points, shooting 71 percent from the field and grabbing seven rebounds.

At the very least, we can take some solace in knowing that the Nets are competing in their games again, and the 20 point losses that plagued the team seem, for now, to be in the past.

The Nets will look to end both their road and overall skids on Monday afternoon when they visit the Golden State Warriors.