Brooklyn Nets: Portland Trail Blazers

W2W4: Nets vs. Blazers

November, 18, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets are back home and taking on the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night at Barclays Center. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

WHO PLAYS? Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko have all been out with injuries. The first four missed the team’s last game Saturday night in Los Angeles, while Kirilenko did not travel on the West Coast trip due to back spasms. Williams (left), Lopez (left) and Garnett (right) all have sprained ankles. Pierce has a sore left groin.

OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: The Nets are tied for 21st in offensive efficiency. Lopez and Pierce are off to pretty good starts, but Williams, Garnett and Johnson (aside from his game-winner in Phoenix) have struggled. D-Will’s PER remains below the league average, Garnett is shooting 30 percent from the field, while Johnson has missed 32 of his last 46 shots.

BLAZING A TRAIL: The Blazers (8-2), who have won six straight, are off to an extremely impressive start. Portland ranks third in the NBA in offensive efficiency and fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage (42). LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 22.2 points and 9.3 rebounds on 48.1 percent shooting. Damian Lillard is continuing where he left off as a rookie, averaging 20.1 points and 5.8 assists, though he’s shooting just 39.4 percent from the floor.

W2W4: Nets at Blazers

March, 27, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets begin the second half of their eight-game circus road trip on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tipoff is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. on ESPN. Here's what we'll be watching for:

NO JOE: The Nets will be without Joe Johnson for a second straight game due to a right quadriceps contusion. Keith Bogans will start in his place. The Nets are 3-2 without Johnson, who is averaging just 13.3 points in his past 10 games.

3-1: That's Brooklyn's record on the trip so far. The Nets are coming off a narrow 102-100 victory over Phoenix.

The Nets are 25-4 against sub-.500 teams; the Blazers (33-37) fit into that category.

Deron Williams is averaging 25 points per game during the trip. A win Wednesday would give the Nets a franchise-record-tying 20 road victories this season.

ROTATION: Kris Humphries is coming off a season-high 17-point effort Sunday night. Surprisingly, Andray Blatche did not play in the second half of that game.

R.O.Y.: The Nets traded the sixth pick in the draft to the Blazers in the Gerald Wallace deal in March 2012. That pick turned out to be point guard Damian Lillard, the odds-on favorite to capture Rookie of the Year honors. Lillard is averaging 19.1 points and 6.5 assists for Portland.

Mark Stein wrote in a recent Weekend Dime that the Nets would have selected Tyler Zeller, not Lillard, had they kept the pick.

REMAINING SKED: ESPN Stats & Information broke down the remaining Nets and New York Knicks schedules. The Nets (41-29) trail the Knicks (43-26) by 2½ games for the Atlantic Division lead.

Home games: 5
Road games: 7
vs. .500-plus: 4
vs. sub-.500: 8
Opponents' win pct.: .447 (second-lowest in NBA)

Home games: 7
Road games: 6
vs. 500-plus: 9
vs. sub-.500: 4
Opponents' win pct.: .512

Joe Johnson to miss Portland game

March, 27, 2013
Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson will miss his second consecutive game on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers due to a right quadriceps contusion, the team announced.

Keith Bogans will once again start In Johnson's place, according to the New York Post.

Johnson said after missing Tuesday's practice that he was unsure if he'll be able to play during the team's current road trip. He suffered the injury while driving to the basket in the third quarter of Saturday night's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and sat out Sunday night's victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Johnson, who suffered from a sore left heel injury in late February, is averaging just 13.3 points on 42.5 percent shooting in his past 10 games. The heel injury caused Johnson to miss four games.

Reserve guard MarShon Brooks (illness) is expected to play, according to the team.

Would Lillard have become a Net?

March, 16, 2013
In his Weekend Dime, colleague Marc Stein reveals that the Brooklyn Nets likely would've taken Tyler Zeller -- not Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard -- with the No. 6 pick in the NBA draft had they not traded it to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace.

Writes Stein:

It's true that the pick Brooklyn surrendered in last season's Gerald Wallace trade became Damian Lillard, but it's a misnomer to flatly conclude that the Nets would have wound up with the overwhelming Rookie of the Year favorite instead of Portland had they simply kept the pick. It's believed that the Nets, if they hadn't dealt their lottery pick for Wallace, likely would have drafted Cavs big man Tyler Zeller at No. 6, since point guard -- with Deron Williams presumed to be re-signing -- wasn't a position of prime need.

The Nets visit Portland on Wednesday, March 27.

HIT THE ROAD, NETS: Brooklyn's eight-game, 17-day road trip, which will begin following Sunday night's game, is the longest in team history in terms of games (tied) and consecutive days between home games. The Nets have won 16 road games this season, their most since 2006-07.

W2W4: Nets vs. Blazers

November, 24, 2012
The East River Rivalry will begin on Monday night, but the Brooklyn Nets can't afford to look past the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon.

Here's what we'll be watching for at 3 p.m.:

WHAT COULD'VE BEEN: Nets GM Billy King made a controversial transaction at the deadline last season, trading his team's first-round pick -- top-three protected -- to the Blazers in exchange for Gerald Wallace. The pick turned out to be Weber State point guard Damian Lillard, who has been an absolute stud for Portland. The 22-year-old is averaging 20.2 points and six assists on 47.3 percent shooting for the Blazers. If he keeps it up, he'll probably end up garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

The Nets were able to retain Wallace over the summer, signing him to a four-year, $40 million contract. That and the Joe Johnson acquisition convinced Deron Williams to stay. Still, having Lillard's cap-friendly rookie deal wouldn't have been too bad either. Granted, maybe D-Will would've bolted for Dallas.

SLUMPING STAR: D-Will is shooting 33 percent (23-for-69) in his last five games. Overall, he's shooting a paltry 40.4 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from 3-point range. Bottom line: Hurt or not, D-Will isn't playing like a top-10 NBA player right now.

JOLTIN' JOE: Joe Johnson had his best shooting performance of the season in Friday night's victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, knocking down 8 of his 12 attempts en route to 19 points. Let's see if Johnson can carry over his aggressive play into Sunday's action.

BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez's last three games: 23 points, 22 points and 26 points. Lopez is also doing a nice job blocking shots. The 24-year-old center has been Brooklyn's best player this season.

D IT UP: The Nets allowed just 13 points to the Clippers in the fourth quarter on Friday night in what was their best defensive performance of the season -- especially when factoring in the quality of their opposition. Nets coach Avery Johnson was quite pleased, even though the team still has a long ways to go on that end of the floor.

Rapid Reaction: Nets to acquire Wallace

March, 15, 2012
The Nets have agreed to acquire Blazers forward Gerald Wallace in exchange for the expiring contract of center Mehmet Okur, injured small forward Shawne Williams and their 2012 first-round pick, top-3 protected. The trade has yet to be made official.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets had to go with Plan B. They wanted Magic center Dwight Howard. He was their Plan A. But those hopes were shockingly dashed -- for now -- when Howard changed his mind again and officially waived his early termination option, keeping him in Orlando through 2012-13. Point guard Deron Williams is likely to opt out, but has expressed his desire to stay with the Nets once they head to Brooklyn next season, assuming they can put the right pieces around him and become a contender. Wallace is certainly a piece that can help appease Williams and dissuade him from leaving, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on that end.

WHO’S GERALD? Wallace, 29, is an athletic 6-foot-7, 220-pounder who can play both forward positions and fill up the stat sheet. He’s currently averaging 13.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks in 35.8 minutes per game on 47.2 percent shooting -- including 26.5 percent from 3-point range. But his PER is just 15.55, the lowest its been since 2004-05, his third season in the league. Wallace, a 2010 All-Star and All-Defensive First Team selection, averages 1.3 points per play in transition, third-best in the NBA this season. According to, Wallace is slated to make $9.5 million in 2011-12 and has a player option at the same amount for 2012-13.

RISK FACTOR: Many have considered this a deep draft. If the season ended Thursday, the Nets would have the fifth pick, pending the lottery. So they may wind up surrendering a top-5 pick for a player who makes them a little bit better. Given that Wallace may exercise his option, the Nets could lose $9.5 million in cap space in the summer of 2012.

NET THOUGHTS: Maybe the Nets don’t feel as strongly about this draft as everyone else. Maybe they feel they can make a late playoff push. Maybe they love Wallace and think he can really help them. Perhaps Williams, who has been directly involved in management decisions, wanted Wallace, and the Nets were willing to make the move as a result. It’s also possible that their pick becomes top-3 and they end up adding Wallace for next to nothing. And finally, if D-12 becomes available again next season, Wallace is a piece they could move in a deal.

GIVING UP: Okur and Williams have been major disappointments this season. Williams shot 24.1 percent from 3-point range before going down ith a season-ending foot injury. Okur has been dealing with back problems all season, and hasn’t played since Jan. 25.

REMEMBER THIS? The Nets were willing to give up center Brook Lopez and five first-rounders to get Howard in a three-team blockbuster deal that would’ve sent Wallace to the Magic.

MY TAKE: Losing Howard is tough. Settling for Wallace is even tougher. He’s a solid player and certainly makes the Nets better, but is he enough to convince Williams to stay? There’s a lot of risk involved in this move given the quality of the pick they gave up. Ever since GM Billy King took over, the Nets have made smart and calculated decisions. Time will tell how this one turns out. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done.



Brook Lopez
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8