|CLIPPERS COMEBACK THWARTED AT BUZZER BY NETS |
- ERIC PATTEN @ericpatten
Chris Paul and the Clippers were 8.3 seconds away from redemption.
Two nights after Paul missed a game-tying free throw in the final seconds of a one-point loss at Minnesota, the All-Star point guard knocked down a pair of freebies to give the Clippers a late lead in New Jersey.
But Jordan Farmar answered with a long 3-pointer from the right wing with 0.2 seconds remaining Wednesday to lead the Nets past the visiting Clippers, 101-100.
The Clippers (22-15), who have lost three of their last four, remain percentage points ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for first place in the Pacific Division. It was just the fourth home victory of the year for New Jersey (13-27).
“We didn’t rotate,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Deron Williams is a tough cover, so we wanted to get it out of his hands to someone else. We did a better job in the second half at that. We didn’t execute down the stretch, we had to rotate defensively. We didn’t get to Farmar.”
The Nets guard had 16 points off the bench.
Farmar’s shot spoiled a second-half rally by L.A. After falling behind by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, the Clippers strung together a series of small runs, spearheaded by Randy Foye and Blake Griffin, who finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
“It is tough,” said Griffin about trying to come from behind on the road. “We’ve done it though. But we don’t want to be in that position, and we shouldn’t be in that position, so we have got to do a better job.”
Foye, playing in his hometown of Newark, NJ, scored a season-high 24 points, including 16 after halftime.
With the Nets, leading 98-95, Foye banked in a long jump shot from the right wing and was fouled on the arm by rookie MarShon Brooks. Foye canned the ensuing free throw to tie the game with 38.2 seconds to go.
The play came after Mo Williams missed consecutive 3-pointers from the opposite side. Griffin grabbed one of his six offensive rebounds on the first miss and tied up Shelden Williams to force a jump ball after Mo Williams’ second shot went awry. Griffin controlled the tap to Paul, who whipped the ball to Foye on the wing.
The point guard duel of Paul and Deron Williams was a wash statistically, albeit impressive. Paul had 22 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and five steals. Williams had a team-high 21 points with 10 assists and six boards.
Still, while the Clippers had three players top the 20-point plateau, they received little help from the rest of the roster. Caron Butler scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting, DeAndre Jordan had two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes, and Mo Williams used 12 shots to score nine points.
The team also committed 17 turnovers, including five from Paul, and shot 19-of-27 from the free throw line with Griffin missing seven of his 17 attempts.
Early the Clippers struggled to contain Brooks and Anthony Morrow. The streaky rookie shooting guard scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half. Anthony Morrow had 10 points in the first half, including 2-for-2 from long distance. He finished with 14 points in 17 reserve minutes.
The Nets closed the first half on 11-3 run, sparked by Deron Williams and Brooks. After Griffin threw down a thunderous left-handed tip dunk to cut New Jersey’s lead to four, Brooks swiped the ball from Paul for a breakaway dunk. In the final 12 seconds Brooks buried a corner 3-pointer off penetration from Williams and then ran the length of the floor after a Griffin free throw to hit a jumper from the top of the key over Butler for a 57-45 lead.
New Jersey closed the third quarter with a basket in the final seconds as well. Farmar gave the Nets a nine-point lead entering the fourth, making a layup over Foye with two seconds to go.
The Clippers wore their home white uniforms as the Nets suited up in their blue ABA New York Nets outfits… Five of the last eight losses for L.A. have been by a combined 12 points, including consecutive defeats by one… It was Griffin’s 24th double-double of the season… Shelden Williams, starting in place of injured Nets big men Mehmet Okur and Brook Lopez, scored a season-high 15 points with 10 rebounds. He shot 9-for-11 from the foul line, making all but one of his free throws down the stretch… Second-year guard Eric Bledsoe played well for the second game in a row in limited minutes. He had five points and a steal and his energy seemed to help change momentum during a six-minute run in the third quarter.
THEY SAID IT
ABOUT TEAM BEING CONSISTENT
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