NEW YORK – LaMarcus Aldridge was stunned, suddenly finding himself matched against a version of Kevin Garnett that hadn’t been seen yet in Brooklyn.
“I think he had one of those flashbacks to when he was in Minnesota and I was coming in as a rookie,” Aldridge said.
Just as quickly, the old Garnett reverted to just old, and the young Portland Trail Blazers ran right by the Brooklyn Nets.
Aldridge scored 27 points, Wesley Matthews added 24 and Portland shot 54 percent in a 108-98 victory Monday night that extended its winning streak to seven.
“This team is good. Guys can get going,” Aldridge said.
Damian Lillard finished with 19 points and nine assists as the Trail Blazers withstood the Nets’ blistering start to win seven in a row in the same season for the first time since a 13-game run in December 2007.
Portland (9-2) is just a half-game behind San Antonio and Indiana for the NBA’s best record. The Blazers will try to complete a perfect 4-0 road trip Wednesday at Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, the Nets (3-7) remain one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments, shooting 9 of 41 (22 percent) in the second half. Garnett made all six shots in Brooklyn’s 40-point first period, then went 2-for-13 from there to finish with a season-high 16 points.
“I take the blame for this,” Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd said. “We got stagnant on the offensive end, so that falls on my shoulders. We came out flat in the third quarter.”
Shaun Livingston scored 23 points for the Nets, who stormed out to their best first quarter of the season and then seemed to run out of gas.
Garnett and Paul Pierce were back in the starting lineup after missing Saturday’s loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles with injuries, though Brook Lopez and Deron Williams continued to rest sprained left ankles.
Grizzlies 106, Clippers 102
In Los Angeles, Zach Randolph had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and Mike Conley scored eight of his 15 points during a 4-minute span of the fourth quarter.
Marc Gasol had 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to help put Memphis (6-5) over .500 for the first time this season. The Grizzlies are 5-0 when Randolph leads them in scoring.
Blake Griffin had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers. Paul had 18 points and 11 assists for his 11th straight double-double, the most by any player from the start of a season since Magic Johnson in 1990-91.
Bulls 86, Bobcats 81
In Chicago, Luol Deng scored 21 points and the Bulls overcame a rough shooting night to record their fifth straight win.
Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, which is on its longest winning streak since taking eight in a row from Feb. 20-March 7, 2012. Jimmy Butler had 14 points and Derrick Rose finished with 12.
Jeffery Taylor led Charlotte with a career-high 20 points and Henderson had 16.
Thunder 115, Nuggets 113
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 38 points, Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 12 rebounds and the Thunder rallied for the win.
Ty Lawson led Denver (4-6) with 29 points and eight assists.
Mavericks 97, 76ers 94
In Dallas, Monta Ellis scored 24 points, including 13 in the third quarter when Philadelphia took its first lead.
Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion had 20 points apiece for the Mavericks, who began a stretch of seven of nine games in Dallas.
Warriors 98, Jazz 87
In Salt Lake City, Stephen Curry scored 22 points for Golden State, and Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes had 17 apiece in the Warriors’ victory.
Golden State made 12 of 22 attempts from 3-point range and led by as many as 28 points.
Gordon Hayward scored 18 points and Williams had 16 for the Jazz (1-11).