Farmar Finds Shot in 2nd Half, Nets Come Back in OT
March 11th, 2011
NEWARK, N.J.—Led by the sterling inside tandem of Kris Humphries (19 points, a career-high 20 rebounds) and Brook Lopez (24 points, 7 rebounds), and sparked by Jordan Farmar (24 second-half points, 7 assists), the Nets downed the
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Farmar Finds Shot in 2nd Half, Nets Come Back in OT
The first half of Friday’s game, for the Nets, was a letdown. In front of a sellout crowd (18,711) at Prudential Center, they trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by as many as 20 points before heading to the locker room down 14, seeking answers to their first real challenge in two games without their new floor general, point guard Deron Williams.
“We got off to a slow start,” admitted Nets coach Avery Johnson. “We were really lethargic in the first half and we didn’t do anything right in the first half. We blew a lot of coverages. I thought it was the Slam Dunk Contest all over again. They had multiple stars in that contest and not just Blake Griffin.”
And yet the Nets found solutions: somewhere in a coach’s voiced disappointment; in a new lineup, with Sasha Vujacic swapped out for Travis Outlaw; and also in the shot of Jordan Farmar. The backup point, starting in Williams’ stead, rebounded from a scoreless, inert first half to pour in 24 points and four assists after halftime, hitting three after three in a valiant effort that left the Nets trading the lead throughout the third and fourth quarters, including a blood-pressure-raising three times in the final 20 seconds of regulation.
While Brook Lopez scored the go-ahead basket with 3.8 seconds to play on a beautiful up-and-under move in the post, and went on to add the first two buckets of overtime, it was another Farmar three-pointer, his fifth, that pushed a two-point lead to five with 2 ½ minutes to play, enabling the Nets to weather a late push and win, 102-98. The victory – their largest comeback of the season – was their fourth in a row, pushing them above .500 at home.
Farmar finished tied with Lopez for a game-high 24 points, perhaps none more important than two coming on a blowby layup with 16.6 seconds left in regulation, capping a 9-2 run that put the Nets ahead by one. Redemption, for Farmar, came one moment at a time.
“Because D-Will is out, I got a chance to start and played a lot of minutes,” Farmar said. “That’s the beauty of the game: can have a short memory and can stay aggressive. I wanted to do it for my teammates more than anything. It feels good to respond.”
The teammates who helped carry him were Lopez (24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Kris Humphries (19 points, career-high 20 rebounds). The Nets’ bigs have been dominating the interior ever since Williams’ arrival two weeks ago: Lopez, in his last six games, has averaged 26.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting .551 in 42.0 minutes per game; Humphries has logged six straight double-doubles, boosting his team-high tally to 22, posting a nightly line of 16.1 points and 15.8 rebounds in those games.
And the offense has not been everything: Lopez is averaging 3.0 blocks during that stretch; Humphries, 1.5. The latter player drew back-to-back offensive fouls by Griffin at the beginning of overtime, two huge, momentum-swinging plays.
“He’s more of an open-court player: runs lobs, catches stuff off penetration,” Humphries said. “So I felt comfortable guarding him man-up in the post. And I got a call to go my way (twice). He brushed me off with the off-arm on the one offensive foul, and ran me over on the second. That was just my contribution: Brook played great, made some unbelievable moves down the stretch – that up-and-under was phenomenal. And we just closed it out.”
The Nets did so scoring but once in the final 2 minutes, 27 seconds of play, sinking only a sole free throw, with 12.7 seconds remaning.
They needed it for a four-point lead.
Farmar shot. Farmar scored.
One final make. For relief. And for sanity.
By this time, unsurprising, but welcome still.
Jordan Farmar, on the support of the sellout crowd:
“It was great. They’ve been supportive all year long. We’re at 21 wins now and they’ve been coming every game and have been very supportive. It’s nice to see them out there and we appreciate the love. So we try to win for them.”
Kris Humphries, on his matchup with Blake Griffin:
"He’s a phenomenal player; he’s done his thing, he’s an All-Star, he’s done everything. I just look at it like I have to go out and battle, whether I’m playing against him or anyone else. It’s a team game at the end of the day: it doesn’t matter if I won the matchup; it matters if we won the game. that’s how I look at it."
NETS NOTES The NETS' four-game win streak is their first since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009 ... The 20-point comeback was the NETS' largest since Jan. 2, 2009 against the Atlanta Hawks, when they were down 20 and won, 93-91 ... This was the NETS' eighth overtime game of the season, tying them with the Oklahoma City Thunder for most in the league this season, one shy of the NETS' franchise record, set during the 1977-78 campaign.