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Nets improving; Blazers keep firing

By Chris Pike
13 December 2013 09:39PM EST

BROOKLYN has made a disastrous start to life under Jason Kidd and its remodelled roster, but beat the Clippers on Thursday to now have won three straight matches.

There were just the two matches in the NBA on Thursday night with the Brooklyn Nets continuing their improved form with a 102-93 win over the LA Clippers while the Portland Trail Blazers kept their hot start to the season with a 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets.

The Nets beat a winning team for the first time in nearly a month, racking up their third consecutive victory in the process.

In their best performance since a win over the Miami Heat on November 1, the Nets overcame a sluggish start to convincingly beat the Clippers at Barclays Centre.

The Clippers took a 23-10 lead on a Jared Dudley three late in the first quarter, before a hook shot from Brook Lopez began the process of turning the game its head. The Nets rode a 46-21 advantage into intermission and didn't look back.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back after coach Doc Rivers' emotional return to Boston, the Clippers looked worn out.

The Clippers missed 17-for-21 three-pointers on the night after hitting two of their first three from beyond the arc.

Brooklyn was again with Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry, but point guard Deron Williams was again pivotal in the victory with15 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Joe Johnson also hit 21 points as did backup big man Andray Blatche off the bench to go with his nine rebounds and three assists.

Starting centre Lopez had 16 points for the Nets while Paul Pierce added 10 off the bench.

Chris Paul top-scored for the Clippers with 20 points but had just two assists with Jamal Crawford adding 19 points and three assists off the bench.

Blake Griffin had just 12 points on 2-of-8 shooting for the Clippers to go with his 11 rebounds.

Portland then continued its remarkable beginning to the 2013/14 NBA season with a solid seven-point win at home over Houston in Thursday's second game.

It was a tight contest for most of the evening in Portland with 16 changes of the lead and with the scores level on 13 separate occasions, but it was the Blazers who prevailed in the end to improve to a 19-4 record while the also impressive Rockets slipped to 15-8.

LaMarcus Aldridge once again strengthened his early season claims to be the MVP of the league with the Trail Blazers power forward finishing the night with 31 points, 25 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Damian Lillard added 18 points for the Blazers with Wesley Matthews scoring 16 points, Nicolas Batum 15 and Maurice Williams 13 off the bench.

Dwight Howard also had a good night inside for the Rockets with the centre finishing with 32 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks as he continues to show that he is one of the game's best centres after a disastrous campaign last season with the LA Lakers.

James Harden added 25 points and seven assists for Houston with Chandler Parsons scoring 14 points and Terrence Jones 10.

NBA Results Thursday December 12
LA Clippers (15-9) 93 lost to Brooklyn Nets (8-14) 102
Houston Rockets (15-8) 104 lost to Portland Trail Blazers (19-4) 111

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