Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:20 am
Evans (22 points, 26 rebounds) leads Nets
By ANNE M. PETERSONAP Sports Writer
It was the Nets' 20th road win of the season, matching a franchise best. Brook Lopez added 28 points for the Nets, who built a big lead early and stretched it to as many as 30 points.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 24 points despite rolling his right ankle in the first half and briefly leaving the game.
Most of the Nets starters had retreated to the bench before Portland pulled within 101-87 on Luke Babbitt's 3-pointer with six minutes remaining. The starters returned, and Portland couldn't get closer.
It was a costly loss for the Blazers, who are 33-38 and still fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference with just 11 games remaining. Portland dropped 3 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Nets (42-29) have already clinched their first playoff appearance since 2007, and are now jockeying for home-court advantage.
The Nets were without Joe Johnson for the second straight game because of right quad contusion he sustained in a loss at the Clippers on Saturday. There was talk Johnson - who is averaging 16.4 points - might return to face the Blazers but the Nets did not want to push him with the playoffs looming.
Brooklyn improved to 3-1 on its eight-game road trip.
It was all Brooklyn from the start. The Nets went up 24-8 after Evans' basket with 4:41 left in the first quarter. Evans had collected nine points and 11 rebounds by the end of the period.
In the past 11 games, Evans has topped 20 rebounds four times. The last time he had 22 points came in 2006.
Andray Blatche's follow dunk pushed Brooklyn's lead to 42-17 and C.J. Watson's drive gave the team its biggest lead of the first half at 50-21. The Blazers narrowed the margin slightly with a 10-2 run but the Nets' led 64-41 at the break.
Aldridge, who had missed practice for a couple of days because of illness, started for the Blazers but had to leave for a time with what the team said was a sprained right ankle. The injury didn't slow him too much, and he topped all scorers with 18 points after the first half.
Blazers rookie Damian Lillard, who is averaging just over 19 points, didn't score before having 10 points in the third quarter. He finished with 15.
Notes: Blazers forward Victor Claver, sidelined because of an ankle injury, made his first appearance since March 8. ... The Blazers' video scoreboard turned to the final seconds of Chicago's 101-97 victory over Miami, which snapped the Heat's 27-game winning streak. ... The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Nets at the Rose Garden. ... It was the second-worst defeat for the Blazers at home this season.