Captured by an eight-day All-Star break and started a seven-match journey, Portland Trail Blazers took down Brooklyn Nets behind a monster performance from Jusuf Nurkic. In a game where eight of the ten players at the court played for Blazers sometime in the last two years, the newest Blazers team broke into victory.
Nurika and recently signed Enes Kanter mounted in the color despite Brooklyn Fielding two strong field inhibitors in Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis. The Nurk-and-Turk duo booked a combined 45 points and 21 rebounds for 18-24 photography. All five Portland starters also made double figures and made a hard shot night from All-Star Damian Lillard.
The game began slowly; both teams were rusty after the long break. It took the third quarter for the blazers to start building a significant lead. The pick-and-roll game between Kanter and Lillard, plus strong offensive efforts from the new signing, contributed to building a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.
Brooklyn's ex-Blazers didn't want their former team to coast to a victory, however. Davis, Allen Crabbe and Shabazz Napier led a 1
As he has throughout his career, Kanter wrote a lunatic statue in his debut game for Portland. He signed in 20 minutes of play, scored 18 points, nine rebounds and one stole on 8-9 shots – five of these rebounds were offensive and led to other chances.
Unlike Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard, Edges plays very similar to Nurkic. He puts strong screens and bullies defenders in the post, often using spinning moves and tough block shot shots. In Kanters first offensive possession, Evan Turner found him in the neighborhood, where he drove Davis into the color and joined nearby layups. He even dropped Davis with a good time perspective in the fourth quarter and kept Portland's staggering lead.
Because of the similarities between Edges and Nurkic's offensive games, Lillard ran effectively and rolls with her new teammate. The couple contributed to a 10-2 run in the third quarter, a run that built the lead to double digits for the first time all night.
Defensively fought edges with pick and roll as expected. He lacks agility and positioning to stop the ball handler from shooting and can often not come back in time to face the reel. Davis made a free 15 points at Kanter.
Ex-Blazers Getting Revenge
Brooklyn Nets added to his growing list of former Blazers by signing Shabazz Napier and Ed Davis this offseason. The two, like Allen Crabbe, worked well all night, and eventually led a strong comeback attempt.
Brooklyn was looking for Crabbe when he bent around the perimeter screens early. He and Napier showed their chemistry in transition when Napier bounced a pass between his legs for Crabbe three. He finished with 17 points from the bench; Napier dished out 10 assists.
Davis showed flashes of the player Portland fell in love with. He crashed the offensive glass into physical battles with Kanter, including one where he gathered the board and continued to throw down a thoughtful slam. He and Napier ran and rolled as smoothly as they did last year, making Blazer's fans remind.
Double problem in the post
Nurkic quickly got to work against Jarrett Allen in the post. As a result, the networks began to double him … successfully. He struggled to find the open man when he doubled and turned the ball over five times at night.
Brooklyn did the same with Edges after he backed Davis down into subsequent possessions for simple buckets. Edges lack Nurki's fitting reputation and therefore often failed to find the open man. However, he was smart with the ball and generally went out of the double layer to avoid a turnover. Edges just missed a shot and twisted the ball over once.
The Blazers continue to surround these two great men with shooters. Few opposite centers can stifle their layouts, so when the dual team inevitably comes, guys like Lillard, McCollum, Layman and Hood will throw the three-point panel ready for open look. It didn't happen tonight, but Stotts should make adjustments.
Edges seem to have forced Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard out of the rotation, as predicted. Neither great man played tonight Kanter and Nurkic manned the post for all 48 minutes.
Evan Turners had a rough start to the game – 0-5 shooting in nine minutes – and was absent for the entire second half. Seth Curry watched extended time but failed to capitalize, losing three shots in 15-minute action.
Terry Stott's 10-man rotation in this first, new look-line game included the usual five starters, Edges, Hood
Blazers travels to Philadelphia to meet Sixers on Saturday .