- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A broad smile lit up Will Barton’s face when he was asked what he thought about the fans chanting his name in Portland’s 124-80 rout of Brooklyn.

“I like to think I’m the people’s champ,” Barton joked after scoring had a season-high 20 points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds off the bench in an inspired victory for the short-handed Trail Blazers.

“I had a lot of fun tonight,” he said. “We got a win, a big-time win. We had a lot of guys down (with injuries) so this win was huge for us.”

Portland won its fourth straight game despite missing forward LaMarcus Aldridge. The team’s top scorer and rebounder has been out five straight games with a left groin sprain.

Jason Collins, who became the NBA’s first openly gay player when he signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Sunday, entered the game without much fan reaction and played a pair of scoreless stretches in the fourth quarter when coach Jason Kidd had taken out his starters.

Deron Williams had 12 points for the Nets, who suffered their third-worst margin of defeat in franchise history. It was the team’s lowest point total this season.

Kidd said the Nets looked listless.

“Our energy was not there,” he said. “On the offensive end, we missed shots and we kind of felt sorry for ourselves - which carried over to the defensive end, and we didn’t make stops.”

Mo Williams scored 21 points and Nicolas Batum had 19 in three quarters to lead seven Trail Blazers in double figures. Portland coach Terry Stotts also pulled his starters in the fourth quarter.

The Blazers were hurting up front. In addition to Aldridge, Portland also was without forward Joel Freeland, who was missing his sixth game with a right knee sprain, and second-year center Myers Leonard, who was out with a right ankle sprain.

The Blazers also announced just before the game that forward Thomas Robinson, a key reserve in Aldridge’s absence, injured his left knee in Portland’s 100-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. Results of an MRI on Wednesday were negative.

The Blazers started Dorell Wright in place of Aldridge, who leads the Blazers with an average of 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds.

“We didn’t have anything to lose,” guard Wesley Matthews said. “We look like an AAU team out there. We don’t have any size other than RoLo (center Robin Lopez). No one is playing their true positions. We’re just playing off ball movement, off chemistry and it’s working for us.”

The Nets saw the return of starting guard Shaun Livingston.

“That was an ugly night,” said Livingston, who did not play in Brooklyn’s 108-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday because of a bruised tailbone.

Story Continues →