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In Triple-OT, Farmar's 52-Minute Effort Isn't Enough

December 1st, 2010

NEWARK, N.J.The Thunder and Nets put on a show that was funkier than a George Clinton concert, with Oklahoma City prevailing 123-120 in triple overtime. Russell Westbrook (38 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, three steals, five turnovers on 14-32 from the floor) scored all 13 Thunder points in the third overtime, and Jeff Green (12-21 from the floor and 9-9 at the stripe for 37 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists) took turns dominating the game. The loss wasted a special night from Jordan Farmer, who tallied career highs in points (28) and minutes (52). Morrow finished with 25 points (3-6 from downtown) and Brook Lopez (28 points, 7-23 from the floor, 14-17 from the line, 10 rebounds) turned in an uneven performance.

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Farmar's 52-Minute Effort Isn't Enough
Starting a regular-season game for the first time in 2 years, Nets point guard Jordan Farmar tried. Really tried For three overtimes, for a career-high 52 minutes, he tried everything: shooting threes (3-of-6), driving for layups (and a career-high 28 points) or setting up his teammates (9 assists). But on one final play, in the third overtime of Wednesdays 123-120 loss to the Thunder, who were playing without star forward Kevin Durant, Farmar couldnt do enough his baseline skip pass to Anthony Morrow was deflected and the final buzzer sounded as players from both teams scrambled for possession.

It was a hammer: I penetrate baseline and set a back screen for Morrow, for a three, Farmar explained. Looking back in hindsight, I wouldve just shot the ball and pulled up, but my job was to penetrate baseline and find him on the backside. They made a good play they switched it and got the steal.

It proved a deflating ending to what had been an inspiring outing for the Nets, who entered the game knowing that co-captain Devin Harris would be out for at least this game and Fridays matchup against the Bobcats with a left knee strain. Farmar was the most obvious candidate to step up, and with rookie Ben Uzoh backing him up, played those 50-plus like he was attempting to justify everyones expectations.

The fifth-year point guard opened the game with a reverse layup, and proved capable of conducting the first unit, aided by aggressive play from swingmen Morrow and Travis Outlaw. Nets coach Avery Johnson had challenged the duo this morning to produce more offensively whether Harris were available or not. Each made two baskets in the opening period, and by games end, had each produced solid stat lines: 25 points (9-15 FGs, 3-6 3Ps) and five rebounds for Morrow, along with 16 points (7-14 FGs, 2-3 3Ps) and four rebounds for Outlaw.

Morrow has grown increasingly comfortable with one- or two-dribble pullups and runners, balancing the ever-present threat of his three-point shot, while Outlaw has shown an ability to harass smaller guards, first flustering former teammate Brandon Roy late in Sundays victory against the Trail Blazers and then checking Russell Westbrook at the end of Wednesdays loss, notably forcing the games high scorer (38 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists) into an airball that nearly sealed the game with 10 seconds left in the second overtime.

Outlaws also made a habit of cashing in critical attempts, and gave the Nets their final lead with a fadeaway, putting the team up 117-116 with 1:47 left in the third overtime. Yet they would never have gotten that far without Morrows heroics in regulation, swishing a leaning three-pointer as time expired, tying the game and forcing overtime (No. 1).

All of our guys battled, Johnson said. To come out here and play 50-something minutes on a back-to-back game at the end of four games in five nights, this team is a gutty team. Theyve got a persevering attitude, they try really hard. This game couldve been over in regulation, but here comes Morrow, who makes a 3. Then its a game of waves and cycles, and this is a team that took the Lakers deep in the playoffs.

Even though they didnt have Durant, we didnt have Devin. Just a gutty performance this is probably the game of the year so far in the NBA its just too bad were on the losing end. I told my guys Im awfully proud to be their coach, and thats why I love coming to work every day.

Harris fellow co-captain, third-year center Brook Lopez, logged his first double-double of the season, tying Farmars team-high 28 points while pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. Though Lopez struggled with his shot (7-23 FGs), the 7-footer bulled his way to 17 free-throw attempts, making 14 each a career-high.

With those four Nets providing the majority of the teams offense (no other player scored more than seven), fifth starter Kris Humphries did most of the dirty work, tying his season high with 15 rebounds, four of them offensive, in 39 minutes. Off the bench, Stephen Graham led the subs with 23 minutes, chipping in seven points and playing solid, smart defense save for a late foul on Jeff Greens three-point attempt at the end of the second overtime.

Johnson tried to assume responsibility for the foul, saying that the teams plan was to do so, holding a three-point lead with fewer than six seconds on the clock. But Graham mistakenly made contact with Green in a way that allowed him to heave a shot toward the basket and earn a call for continuation.

In our system, we like to foul in that situation, but not when the guy is off-balance, the coach said. When hes putting the ball on the floor and theyre trying to run a play, then we can foul. Tough spot for us to be in. We love Graham, though. We wanted to foul, but not quite in that situation.

For the Nets, the game goes down as a learning experience: one to draw upon the next time theyre in similar situations and dont want to end up the losing locker room. Farmar has seen these as a member of the Lakers, who went from 42 wins to three straight Finals appearance (with a Pau Gasol-assisted booster shot).

You dont ever want to lose, but youve got to continue to move on and grow up from the experience, Farmar said. I think we can do that. If we can do that, this will turn into a positive. At the end of the day, its one game in the NBA you play 82, and theres going to be nights when you dont play good basketball and you dont fight and you lose. You really cant take much out of those games.

To play well and execute and do the things we have to do and just have a call here or there or a loose ball here or there or a shot going in and out if thats the difference between winning or losing, were in a good place. Oklahoma Citys a very good team, and weve been playing good basketball. Were a ball bounce away from getting some of these wins, so weve got to keep fighting.

Devins Moment of Heaven
Avery Johnson said that he was so elated about hearing Devin Harris knee injury was ruled nothing more serious than a strain (no surgery required, as few as two games out) that he interrupted his chapel service to give his point guard a hug.

Wait, what?

Oh my goodness, yes. I gave him the biggest hug. I interrupted my chapel time with the chaplain. I had to tell the chaplain to be quiet for a second.


I did. I interrupted it and gave Devin a hug. I sure did. And the chaplain didnt mind I think he was praying for him all day.

As for the possibility of the Nets recalling Terrence Williams from his recent assignment to the D-League Springfield Armor, Johnson quickly quashed the thought:

No. Were staying the course there. Hell go down and play a lot of minutes and well evaluate that as time goes on.

Williams first game is Thursday at 7 p.m. and viewable live online via the NBA D-League Futurecast, which can be found at the following URL:

NETS NOTES The teams last triple-overtime game was a 130-122 loss to the Magic on Nov. 8, 1995 in OrlandoJordan Farmar also set career-highs in field goals made (12) and attempted (21).

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