Nets 111, Trail Blazers 93

Reggie Evans’ Brooklyn teammates egged him on, making sure he

knew just how many points and rebounds he had against the Trail

Blazers.

In the end, Evans finished with a career-high 26 rebounds and

matched his career best with 22 points, and Brooklyn beat Portland

111-93 on Wednesday night. Evans is the first NBA player to reach

both those numbers in a game this season.

And to top it off, he was battling an infection that kept his

right eye half-shut throughout the game.

”I just wanted to win, that’s it,” Evans said. ”But after a

while your teammates get to tell you how many rebounds you got.

Typical of my teammates: `Oh, you got this many. You got this many.

You got this many.’ I just take whatever I can do.”

Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo called Evans’ performance

”absurd.”

It was Brooklyn’s 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. They’re 4-1 on their current eight-game road trip.

Brooklyn was 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.

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.

”He rebounds – it’s not a surprise he got rebounds. Now 26,

that’s another story,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ”For him

to get three offensive rebounds in the first two minutes of the

game when everybody knows that’s what he does. … We didn’t do too

much to take that away.”

Evans’ eye infection started in his left but had spread to his

right before the game. He said it bothered him during shootaround

earlier Wednesday and he had to use drops before the game.

”If it was golf it would be a problem, but a basketball is a

pretty big ball,” Carlesimo said. ”He can see a basketball –

that’s all he needs to see.”

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.

”They definitely punched us in the mouth first and we didn’t

respond for the whole game,” Blazers forward J.J. Hickson

said.

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.

”It was embarrassing,” Lillard said. ”I don’t know any other

way to say it.”

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. Evans’ 26 rebounds are the most for a

player on either side of the all-time series between the Nets and

the Blazers.