Playing seven minutes and only having two turnovers to show for it would discourage most players.
However, most players do not have the resolute confidence of Will Barton.
“I was killing myself after the game yesterday,” Barton said. ” I know I’ve been having the opportunity to play and every night is important for me, every second. I just told myself if I get in the next game, I’m going to make the most of it.”
And make the most of it he did as Barton stepped up again for the short-handed Blazers. He helped propel Portland to a 124-80 blowout over the Brooklyn Nets.
“We just went out there and balled as a team,” said the man of the night.
He finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, both season highs. His production along with that of Mo Williams’ 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds helped power the Blazers on the second night of back-to-back games.
The Blazers bench combined for a season-high 68 points.
On Wednesday, the Blazers added Thomas Robinson to the growing list of players that were unavailable to play. LaMarcus Aldridge did not make it back to the court.
The rag-tag lineups continued to delve deeper and deeper into a position-less wonderland.
Among these lineups, was the 6-foot-5 Barton lining up at power forward, having to guard players bigger than him while Victor Claver played center behind Robin Lopez.
Claver was battling with Brooklyn’s bigs all night. Barton had a couple of contests at the rim and even a block on Brooklyn’s 7-foot center Mason Plumlee.
“That’s just how I play. I’m going to go after guys shots no matter if they’re a 7-footer or 6’1”,” Barton said. “And Victor, he’s a big guy. People don’t realize he’s 6’10” and got some muscle on him. He’s not a thin guy like me.”
Mo Williams carried the Blazers bench on Tuesday in Denver and delivered once again on Wednesday against the Nets.
Barton showered praises for everybody, but especially Claver who had a career-high 13 points.
“He’s just so versatile man. It’s just so fun playing with a guy like that,” Barton said.
Claver says the connection starts from playing 3-on-3 together in practice.
The Blazers came out on the right foot, going right at the Nets from the very beginning.
Williams and Barton played the entirety of the second quarter. That was when the Blazers completely broke the game open, but Stotts thought it started at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought really the turning point in the game was the second group at the end of the first quarter — Mo, CJ (McCollum), Will, Victor and Wes, they really picked up the energy, got aggressive,” Stotts said.
The Nets, it must be said, were an absolute mess.
Coming off of two days rest, it was they who looked like the ones who played in Denver the night before, which left coach Jason Kidd without much to say except for cliches.
“This is the NBA, games like this happen,” he
The Blazers didn’t do anything complicated, they just played harder than the Nets.
“It’s not a big secret but it’s just to run, play with the screens and read your teammates,” said Claver on the team’s success.
However, while the Blazers had four players in double-figures off the bench, it was Barton’s name that the fans were chanting at the Moda Center as the game winded down.
“I like to think I’m the People’s Champ,” Barton said. “I think the fans really love me here and I love them back.”
Nicolas Batum had another solid outing as he continues to improve from an illness that hampered him last week. He finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists.
While Damian Lillard didn’t score 30 points for the fourth time in five games, he didn’t need to with how the rest of the Blazers stepped up.
The Blazers held the Nets to a season-low for points scored and they are now riding a four-game winning streak without LaMarcus Aldridge.
They’re off until Saturday when they play the Denver Nuggets who they beat in Denver on Tuesday.