THE FACTS: Tied 70-70 heading into the fourth quarter, the Nets ran away from the Trail Blazers, finishing a sluggish Sunday afternoon with a flurry. Five Nets finished in double figures in the 98-85 win, led by Joe Johnson's 21 points (11 in the first quarter). Kris Humphries (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Reggie Evans (14 rebounds) put in excellent, efficient work at the power forward position. Wesley Matthews paced the LaMarcus Aldridge-less Trail Blazers with 20 points.
QUOTABLE: "There was a sense of urgency. We talked about it at halftime. I was really disappointed with our defense in the first half. They responded."
-- Nets Coach Avery Johnson
THE STAT: The Blazers bench did not score for the first 3 quarters. Sasha Pavlovic broke the scoreless streak early in the fourth quarter with a pretty fadeaway.
TURNING POINT: Evans picked up a loose ball and shoveled a pass to Brook Lopez (15 points, 8 rebounds) for a dunk to give the Nets an 81-74 lead. The play signified that the Nets were taking full control of the game.
QUOTABLE II: "To be without our best player and come to Brooklyn and then have a chance down the stretch; it just came to them making shots down the stretch and we didn't."
-- Damian Lillard
INSIDE THE ARENA: Well short of a sellout, the crowd lacked enthusiasm for much of the afternoon. ... Former Mets and Yankees outfielder Daryl Strawberry attended the game. Strawberry also went to the Pistons-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden earlier in the day. ... A fan proposed to girlfriend on the Jumbotron. She said yes and then "Let's Get Married" by Jagged Edge blared through the arena loudspeakers.
ROOKIE WATCH: Lillard had an uneven performance, per his stellar early season standards, and he battled foul trouble, but he still finished with a respectable 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. Meyers Leonard (12 points, three rebounds), starting for Aldridge, made some good contributions inside, spanning late first into the second quarter, but was quieted in the second half. Joel Freeland grabbed one rebound and turned the ball over twice in 12-plus minutes of action.
NOTABLE: Matthews led the Blazers back late in the first quarter, scoring eight points as the team mounted its comeback following a slow start. ... Lopez crashed hard on the floor in the middle of the second, fouled by Leonard. ... Humphries made an impressive mid-air rejection of a Matthews dunk attempt midway through the third quarter. ... Deron Williams (15 points, 12 assists) continued to struggle with his shot but quarterbacked the Nets well and finished with a career-high four blocked shots, a few on Lillard, staying aggressive through pick-and-roll coverage. ... The loss began a seven-game road trip for the Blazers.
UP NEXT: For the Trail Blazers, Monday @ Detroit, Wednesday @ Washington, Friday @ Boston. For the Nets, Monday vs. New York, Wednesday @ Boston, Friday @ Orlando.