(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers begin a seven-game, 11-day road
trip on Sunday afternoon when they hit the Barclays Center for a matinee
against the Brooklyn Nets.
Portland left home in the win column thanks to a 103-95 victory Friday over
the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Blazers have won four of their last five
The victory on Friday was a highlight reel for the backcourt of Wesley
Matthews and rookie star Damian Lillard. They scored 30 and 28 points,
respectively and J.J. Hickson had a double-double with 14 points and 13
rebounds. But the guards went 23-for-34 from the field and 9-for-14 from the
"They played great," LaMarcus Aldridge said of his guards. "I thought Wes and
Dame definitely picked up the slack tonight. They came out ready to go, made
shots and that's big for us."
What has not been big for the Blazers has been their bench. On Friday, the
Portland reserves combined for nine points. Only one Portland bench player has
scored double-figures in a single game this season.
The Nets snapped a two-game losing streak on Friday with a quality 86-76
victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. They lost two in a row, both on the
road in California, but had won five straight before the setbacks.
Brook Lopez was a monster for the Nets against the Clips. He poured in 26
points on 13-for-24 shooting and it was his sixth game in the last seven with
20 points or more.
Lopez leads the team in scoring at 19.4 ppg and is eighth in the NBA in field-
goal percentage at almost 56 percent. He is helping on the defensive end as
well. Lopez is up to fourth in the league in blocked shots with 2.55 per game.
"Brook's been great for us all year," said Deron Williams. "We've been able to
count on him every game. He was being aggressive on both ends of the court,
which is what we wanted to see."
Williams' numbers have been down a bit with his 16.9 ppg average. He's
averaged at least 21.0 ppg the last two seasons and Williams has only managed
20 points combined in his last two outings.
The Nets are the third-best team in the NBA in terms of opponents' scoring,
but they have struggled a bit on offense. Brooklyn hasn't gone over 100 points
since Nov. 15 against the Boston Celtics.
Sunday's game is the second of three in a row at home for the Nets, then it's
back on the road for a three-game trip.
The Blazers are 13-4 in their last 17 games against the Nets and are 4-1 in
their last five on the road in this series.
The Sports Network