Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson, right, has the ball stripped by Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews in the third quarter of the NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in New York. Johnson and Matthews were their teams' high scorers, with Johnson scoring a game-high 21 and Matthews a team-high 20. The Nets won 98-85. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
Sunday, November 25, 2012 6:48 pm
Johnson helps Nets beat Trail Blazers 98-85
The Associated Press
Joe Johnson scored 21 points and Brook Lopez had 15 for Brooklyn, which has won five straight games at Barclays Center. The 6-1 beginning on the new home court is the Nets' best start since the 2002-03 season when they won 18 of their first 19 at home.
Wesley Matthews scored 20 points and J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who were without LaMarcus Aldridge. The All-Star forward was out with a stiff back.
Rookie Damion Lillard added 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The Blazers selected Lillard with the first-round draft pick they acquired in the Gerald Wallace trade with the Nets last spring.
On the eve of their first game at the Barclays Center against the crosstown New York Knicks, Williams and the Nets struggled with their shot until the fourth quarter.
Jared Jeffries made two free throws for Portland to tie it at 74 with 8:32 left, but the Nets responded with a 9-0 run. C.J. Watson got it started with a 3-pointer and Johnson capped it off with a jumper that made it 83-74 with 6:08 to go.
Williams made a 3-pointer, then found Kris Humphries for a layup to extend the lead to 94-80 with 1:57 remaining.
Humphries had 14 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which was supposed to host the Knicks on opening night but the game was postponed due to Superstorm Sandy. Andray Blatche scored 13 and fellow reserve Reggie Evans had 14 boards.
Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard each scored 12 for Portland, which had 16 turnovers and was outrebounded 48-34 by Brooklyn.