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Reply To: NBA • Tuesday Service Plays • 2/23/16

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Preview: Brooklyn At Portland

When: 10:00 PM ET, Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

The Brooklyn Nets are just 4-19 on the road as they begin a season-long nine-game excursion against the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. The Barclays Center is unavailable due to a circus and the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament, and Brooklyn doesn’t play in its home building again until March 13.

The lowly Nets don’t get an easy start to the trip by visiting Portland, which has won 14 of its past 17 games. “We definitely are going to have to stick together being on the road so long and just take it a game at a time,” Brooklyn center Brook Lopez said. The Trail Blazers have won five consecutive games to move into seventh place in the Western Conference, a stunning rise for a team that was nine games under .500 before the impressive streak. “We’re a playoff team,” star guard Damian Lillard told reporters after scoring 30 points in Sunday’s 115-111 home win over the Utah Jazz. “We’ve got to put our hard hats on and to go work.”

TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBATV, YES (Brooklyn), KGW (Portland)

ABOUT THE NETS (15-41): Lopez isn’t known for piling up assists but he handed out six while compiling 16 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s 104-96 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Brooklyn badly wanted a victory before leaving on its long road swing and twice recovered from double-digit deficits but was unable to get over the hump. “It was a tough loss,” small forward Joe Johnson told reporters. “I thought we had some stretches where we played great basketball but we also had stretches where we didn’t play so great. A lot of turnovers – we gave them a lot of easy fast-break points. It’s hard to win like that.”

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (29-27): Lillard is averaging 36.3 points over the last four games and is the first Portland player since Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler (1991) to score 30 or more points in four consecutive games. The backcourt pairing of Lillard (25 points per game) and C.J. McCollum (20.9) has ignited the Trail Blazers’ rise and both players reached 30 points in the win over the Jazz. “There’s no give and take,” McCollum told reporters after his 31-point effort. “You gauge the game, you read the game. If somebody has a hot hand, you give them the ball. It’s simple math. You read the game, you look at it and you see who’s hot and who has mismatches.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Nets are 6-34 all-time when playing in Portland.

2. Lopez, who scored 25 points in a 116-104 home loss to the Trail Blazers on Jan. 15, has reached 20 points in seven of the last 10 contests.

3. Portland backup SF Maurice Harkless has scored in double digits in five consecutive games and is averaging 14.4 points during the span.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 112, Nets 96