One man was nearly enough for the Nets in Portland, but Brook Lopez couldn't do it all by himself.
Lopez scored a season-high 36 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a career-high four steals, but Brooklyn couldn't find a way past Portland thanks to a poor start that put the Nets behind the 8-ball.
"We had a lot more energy (in the second half) and we knuckled down on defense and got some stops," Lopez told reporters after the game. "We came out a bit relaxed. I don't know what it was. There really is no excuse to start that way."
The Nets were abysmal in the first half, trailing by 14 at halftime. But something clicked inside Lopez in the second, as he shot 8-for-11 between the third and fourth quarters, with most of that damage being done right underneath the basket. Portland had no answer for him. His former front court mate Mason Plumlee looked completely overwhelmed. It was quite the performance in an otherwise ho-hum road loss for the Nets.
Brooklyn needed to execute on defense down the stretch if they wanted to win this one, and unfortunately, Portland just had too many options to make that possible. Still, there's some positives to take out of this game. Donald Sloan (6-for-10) played well offensively, and Shane Larkin had a fairly productive 15 minutes (seven points, three assists). It just wasn't enough, Lopez's dominance is just a reminder that Brooklyn has big time talent on this team. He just needs some help.