Nets miserable as Trail Blazers win road trip finaleNov 19, 2006 - 3:01 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Portland Trail Blazers will return home with a warm feeling. But the New Jersey Nets couldn't catch a cold.
Zach Randolph collected 20 points and 16 rebounds as the Trail Blazers concluded a four-game road trip with a 86-68 victory over the cold-shooting Nets.
Rookie LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12 points and Ime Udoka added 10 for Portland, which had dropped the first three games of the trip, including a 118-90 thrashing at Boston on Friday, and four straight overall.
"It's nice to see us play well after such a bad performance last night," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We were feeling bad and down last night. We come in here against a very good team in New Jersey and we played one of our better games of a long road trip. After about your fourth game in five games, we had a solid effort."
After missing their first shot, the Trail Blazers made seven straight, capped by a 3-pointer by Martell Webster, for a 16-2 lead with 6:50 left in the opening period.
They led, 25-8, at the end of the first quarter, holding New Jersey to 3-of-17 shooting as the Nets tied their franchise record for fewest points in the opening period.
The performance was especially disappointing since New Jersey (5-4) beat Indiana, 100-91, on Friday for its first winning streak of the season.
"There's no excuse and it's hard to explain," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "This is the second game we've had after having a road win coming in. In the first quarter, it was 13-0 and then 25-8. I don't know. We have to re-evaluate and see what we're doing because this is the second time coming off of a back-to-back where the other team is more prepared than we are."
The closest the Nets got thereafter was 52-42 with five minutes to go in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Jason Kidd.
"We just put ourselves in the hole, so you start pressing a little bit and start getting away from some rhythm opportunities," Frank said. "We had a poor start in the game and we didn't execute too well against their zone. It was a grind-out type of game. It's disappointing because we put together two quality wins and it's just disappointing that we didn't do a better job tonight."
A 3-pointer by Juan Dixon gave Portland its biggest lead, 82-61, with four minutes left. The Trail Blazers shot 47 percent (31-of-66) from the floor and committed just nine turnovers.
"I thought it was our best all-around game." McMillan said. "We had a long film session this morning about what we needed to do and I thought tonight we did it. Our turnovers were down and we did not have guys trying to force threes. We had the ball movement. It was just a nice, solid effort by everybody."
Point guard Jarrett Jack had 12 points and eight assists for Portland.
"Jack played his best game," McMillan said. "He did a nice job of running the offense, controlling the tempo, defensively, and working hard on the floor, communicating with his teammates. He set some players up tonight."
Vince Carter had 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting for the Nets, who shot just 33 percent (23-of-69) from the field.
"We played bad and we know it," Carter said. "There are 82 games in the year, and it's not the last game of the year, we have plenty more to go. It wasn't intentional, it's just one of those nights. We just have to look at tape.
"You have to play with energy night in and night out, and we didn't play with the energy we needed to win. I don't think we had energy or effort. When we decided to play we were already down 20 or 22 and it makes it that much harder."
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