The nets caught fire for Brooklyn at just the right time Tuesday night, as it stormed back from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit inside TD Garden, before toppling the Boston Celtics in overtime.
Brooklyn scored 51 points during the final frame, including five during the final six seconds to tie the game up in miraculous fashion. With momentum on its side, it then pulled away in OT for a 129-120 win.
The C’s were leading 118-113 with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, but allowed the Nets to score easily on a Caris LeVert-to-DeAndre Jordan alley-oop slam to bring the score within three.
Boston then called a timeout to advance the ball up to mid-court, where it would experience great difficulty inbounding the ball. On the first attempt, Grant Williams couldn't find an open man in time, so he was forced to call a timeout before being called for a five-second violation. On the second attempt, Marcus Smart found Kemba Walker, but Walker was immediately swarmed by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Rodions Kurucs and the refs called for a jump ball.
Kurucs, who has 10 inches on Walker, won the tip, and Brooklyn called for a timeout with 1.4 seconds remaining. Spencer Dinwiddie then inbounded the ball to a red-hot LeVert, who was triple-teamed right away by Smart, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams.
As he rose up for the last-second heave, LeVert was hit on the left hand by Smart, causing the referee to blow the whistle to send him to the free-throw line with 0.2 seconds remaining. While under extreme pressure, LeVert sunk all three freebies to send the game into OT.
The Celtics would enter the extra period at an extreme disadvantage, as they were without three of their starters. Both Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward had both suffered injuries during the game, and Walker, in his first game back from injury, had reached his minutes limitation by the end of the fourth quarter.
To make matters even more difficult, Smart fouled out just a little over a minute into overtime, leaving Theis as Boston's only remaining starter. The Nets took full advantage of the opportunity by outscoring Boston 11-2 during the extra five minutes, which allowed them to walk away with a 129-120 victory.
Two words can sum up Brooklyn's remarkable 18-point comeback: Caris LeVert.
The 25-year-old wing turned in the best performance of his life, as he tallied a career-high 51 points while shooting 17-of-26 shooting from the field and 12-of-18 from the free-throw line.
Amazingly, LeVert only had 14 points at the end of three quarters before erupting for 37 during the fourth quarter and overtime combined. His most critical points came with 0.2 seconds left in regulation, as he was fouled on a 3-pointer and then sunk all three free-throws to send the game into overtime.
LeVert also tallied five assists and four rebounds during the effort, while logging a plus 15. No other Nets starter recorded better than a minus-16.
Box Score Nuggets
- Caris LeVert poured in a career-high 51 points on 17-of-26 shooting.
- Jaylen Brown finished as the game's second-highest scorer with 22 points.
- Kemba Walker tallied 21 points in 23 minutes during his first game back from a knee injury.
- Brooklyn scored 51 points during the fourth quarter, after tallying 67 during the first three frames combined.
- Brad Wanamaker led the game in steals with four.
- The Nets had a 63-42 advantage on the glass.
- Brooklyn earned 38 trips to the free-throw line, while Boston made 23 such trips.
- Nets reserve Chris Chiozza was a plus-29 in just 20 minutes of action.
- Both teams attempted 49 3-pointers. Boston made 15, while Brooklyn made 14.
- Robert Williams logged 10 points in 10 minutes during his first action since Dec. 6.
Quote of the Night
I think that this is an anomaly, but nonetheless, it was a very humbling one.
Brad Stevens on the loss.