Points have been at a premium for the Portland Trail Blazers, who may finally have a chance to post some gaudy offensive numbers when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. The Blazers shot a season-low 33.7 percent in a 101-81 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday, their widest margin of defeat of the season.
While its defense has often been superb, Portland is averaging just 94.6 points during a 4-4 stretch. “I think we defended hard. I think it was just another case of us struggling on the offensive end,” guard Damian Lillard told reporters in Philadelphia. “We just weren’t able to put up points.” That could change against the Nets, who entered Thanksgiving allowing 114.2 points per game, the second-highest average in the NBA. It was more of the same in a 119-109 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday, Brooklyn’s fourth defeat in the last five games since a four-point victory at Portland on Nov. 10.
TV: Noon ET, NBCSN Northwest (Portland), YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (10-8): Lillard scored 30 points while his fellow starters combined for 22 on 8-of-32 shooting, with CJ McCollum the primary culprit with a woeful 1-for-14 showing. McCollum’s five-point effort marked his first single-digit result this season and the 26-year-old’s worst output in the regular season since April 13, 2015 (four points). Shabazz Napier provided a silver lining off the bench with 13 points, four assists and two steals, and he has scored in double digits in three straight games for the first time since Nov. 2014.
ABOUT THE NETS (6-11): The Nets already knocked off the Cavaliers once this season and they were tied entering the fourth quarter in the rematch, but simply didn’t have the personnel to hang with LeBron James down the stretch. “It’s tough. Obviously he’s been tops in this league from the moment he got into it, and he really hasn’t shown any signs of letting up,” guard Joe Harris told the New York Post. “We did a good job containing him until that point,” Harris said. “But he shows why he’s the best player in the world and took over down the stretch.” Rondae-Hollis Jefferson scored 20 points in the loss while Harris came off the bench to provide 18 on 7-of-10 shooting as Brooklyn fell to 4-4 at home.
1. Nets F Trevor Booker (ankle) missed the loss to Cleveland and is day-to-day.
2. Lillard is making a career-low 32.9 percent of his 3-pointers, but he was 6-for-13 against Philadelphia.
3. Blazers C Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) in Wednesday’s loss and led his team with 21 points in the earlier loss to the Nets.
PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 106, Nets 101