Big Three beats Brooklyn
Although the Trail Blazers' defense has improved this season, Portland has had all kinds of trouble with Brooklyn.
But Portland found just enough stops and rebounds, and good fortune, down the stretch to win on Friday — and needed all the 89 points it got from its Big Three (Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic).
The Nets nearly completed a two-game season series sweep. Brooklyn matched the Blazers from the field, each team shooting .500. The Nets folded late, though, and Portland managed to escape with a 127-125 victory in the matinee NBA game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Portland improved to 11-8 this season and 2-1 on a five-game trip. The Blazers will play at 4 p.m. PT Saturday at Washington.
The Nets fell to 6-12.
The Blazers and Nets traded baskets and free throws, but Brooklyn led most of the day.
McCollum's drive pulled Portland to within 121-120 with 1:15 remaining.
Portland got a strip inside, and Shabazz Napier took advantage with a quick three-point play at the other end to lead 123-121 at the 55.5-second mark.
A putback by Spencer Dinwiddie tied the score.
Then Nurkic was rejected inside, but made a steal immediately thereafter under the basket and got a layup and a foul. He hit the free throw, boosting Portland into a 125-123 lead with 27.6 seconds to go.
A backdoor layup by Dinwiddie cut the Nets' deficit to 126-125 with 15.7 seconds left.
Brooklyn, forced to foul, sent McCollum to the line. He missed his first shot, then made the second with 11.4 seconds to go.
The Nets, trailing 127-125, went to Dinwiddie, whose 3 hit the rim twice before the rebound went to Nurkic.
After a quick foul, Nurkic missed his first free throw with 2.3 seconds remaining. He missed again, and the Nets rebounded, and Nurkic was called for a blocking foul on DeMarre Carroll in the backcourt with 0.8 seconds on the clock. Fortunately for the Blazers and Nurkic, it turned out the Nets weren't in the penalty, so Brooklyn had to inbound at midcourt and couldn't get a halfcourt shot off in time.
Lillard led Portland scorers with 34 points in 36 minutes, going 10 of 19 from the field and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.
McCollum had 25 points in 39 minutes on 10-for-19 shooting, including 1 of 4 free throws.
Nurkic finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in 30 minutes.
Evan Turner led the Blazers bench with 13 points.
Dinwiddie paced eight Nets in double figures with 23 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 17. Former Blazer Allen Crabbe, who started at shooting guard, scored 12 points on 5-for-14 field-goal shooting, making 2 of 6 from 3-point range.