BROOKLYN – Since the Brooklyn Nets suffered consecutive blowout losses on a recent West Coast road trip, there were legitimate questions about what resolve this team had left – if any.
The answer came Monday night in Barclays Center in thrilling fashion.
Trailing by 11 with about five minutes remaining and down eight with 1:11 left to a Los Angeles Clippers team that had pinned a 39-point beatdown on the Nets on Jan. 22, Brooklyn said: Enough!
The Nets rallied down the stretch, using a 12-2 closing spurt, and pulled out a 102-100 win that snaps a four-game losing streak.
Jarrett Jack hit the winning shot – a 17-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds left.
“I just needed a little bit of separation,” said Jack. “Right when it left my hand, I knew it was cash. I would have been really upset if I would have missed it.”
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 points. Joe Johnson added 22 and Deron Williams, after missing 11 games with injury, added 15 points in 29 minutes. The Clippers (33-16), who beat the Nets, 123-84, last month, got 22 points and 20 rebounds from DeAndre Jordan.
Down 98-90, Johnson made a 3 with 48 seconds left. Alan Anderson hit a corner jumper from behind the arc and was fouled, giving him a four-point play. And Jack drained his money jumper for the win.
KEY PLAY I: Jarrett Jack, coming off a 52-minute, 13-second effort in the Nets’ OT loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night in which he scored a career-high 35 points, was limited to six points on 3-of-11 shooting. But the final two points came with 1.3 seconds left when the 6-3 Jack rose up and drained a 17-foot jumper over the Clippers’ 6-11 DeAndre Jordan.
KEY PLAY II: Alan Anderson drained a 3 from the left corner and was fouled by Blake Griffin with 15.3 seconds left. AA converted the free throw for a four-point play and a 100-98 lead. Bonus: Griffin fouled out on the play.
KEY PLAY III: After he shockingly missed two free throws with 50 seconds left, Joe Johnson atoned for them by draining a 3 with 48 seconds left that brought the Nets to within 98-96.
KEY STRETCH: The final 1:11. There was little reason to believe that the Nets, losers of 12 of their last 14, could stage a dramatic comeback. But they did thanks to clutch shooting by Johnson, Anderson and Jack
KEY STAT: The Clippers will look at the box score, see they missed 17 of 25 free throws, and get that nauseous feeling.
NETS GAINS: Deron Williams returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a fractured rib cartilage injury to the 12th rib on his left side. He scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and had three assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes.
TALK: “Our spirit has come back and we are scrapping, scratching and clawing,” said Nets Coach Lionel Hollins on the team’s come-from-behind win.