It’s almost impossible to think that with over 10,000 career points that Brook Lopez didn’t have a single game-winning buzzer beater.
Well Lopez took care of that on Tuesday night, capping off a 29-point performance with a game-winning shot that left his hands with just 0.3 seconds remaining. He put it up and his teammates looked on. First the red light went off and then it dropped, with Lopez ultimately giving the Brooklyn Nets a 98-96 win over the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center.
“I was very confident in it,” said Lopez, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter. “We executed it so well on that last play.”
Tied 96-96 with 2.4 seconds to play, Randy Foye inbounded the ball to Lopez as he cut across the top of the key. Isaiah Whitehead set enough of a screen to allow Lopez to take a dribble, lean into Aron Baynes and put it up.
“Quite honestly Brook made a heck of a play,” Coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It was more of a catch and shoot, but he took a dribble, knew how much time was left and made a heck of a shot.”
Admittedly, Lopez didn’t know how much time was left, but since he got it off in time, the Nets spent the post-game making jokes about Robin Lopez’s scuffle up in Toronto.
Lopez was the Nets best player on Tuesday night. But on a night without Jeremy Lin, Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris, the Nets were going to need a few guys to step up.
Enter Spencer Dinwiddie, KJ McDaniels and Archie Goodwin.
Dinwiddie scored 10 points while grabbing a career-high eight rebounds and four assists. McDaniels dropped 11 points, while Goodwin chipped in 10 points, one for each day of his current contract.
“I thought our bench was good,” Atkinson said. “Archie came in and gave us a night boost. KJ came in and made some plays, some nice finishes at the rim and hit a couple of threes. It’s not easy playing against a good team like that and those guys haven’t been with us very long, so I was pleasantly surprised with their performance.”
Goodwin looked like a man looking for a contract. He ran straight at the basket all night and never gave up on a shot, hitting an improbable one on his way to the floor. Goodwin also hustled on defense, running straight through Atkinson’s sightlines to swat a breakaway layup away from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
“That’s the type of competitor we’re looking for,” Atkinson said.
Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 24 points, including the game-tying basket, while Caldwell-Pope had 19 points. Andre Drummond had 13 points and 17 rebounds, while Marcus Morris (13 points) and Ish Smith (16 points) combined for 22 in the fourth as the Pistons mounted a comeback.
“Our team was very resilient,” Lopez said. “Everyone played huge roles and helped close the game out for us.”
The Nets are back in action on Thursday night when they host the Phoenix Suns. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.