Lopez Leads Nets to Thrilling Triple Overtime Win at an Electric Barclays Center


BROOKLYN – For most of the season Lionel Hollins has challenged, cajoled, benched and, at times, publicly criticized center Brook Lopez.

Hollins thought the 7-foot, 275-pound center could be more of a physical presence. He thought he could be a rebounder and a rim protector.

Friday night at an electric Barclays Center, Lopez just might have protected the Brooklyn Nets’ chances of making the playoffs.

Lopez scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked five shots as the Nets outlasted the Milwaukee Bucks, 129-127, in triple overtime.

Lopez scored the first five points of the third overtime. He added two rebounds and a blocked shot in the third OT.

“If you could jump out there and get the lead, I think we got a five-point lead, that was huge in giving us the momentum to finish the game,’’ said Coach Lionel Hollins.

It was the second triple-overtime game the Nets and Bucks have played this season. Milwaukee won the first meeting, 122-118.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points, five assists, three rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal. Thaddeus Young had 24 points.

Joe Johnson reprised his role as Joe Jesus, draining a three with 18 seconds left in the second overtime to tie the score at 117 and force the third overtime. He also hit a three with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter that tied the score, 101-101, and sent the game to overtime.

The Nets (28-39) have a huge game Saturday night in Indiana where they play the Pacers. Milwaukee fell to 34-35.

KEY PLAY I: Bojan Bogdanovic has been more aggressive and more athletic since returning from the All-Star break. Never was that more apparent than early in the fourth quarter when he rose up from Jerryd Bayless and swatted the Milwaukee guard’s layup attempt into the first row of fans.

KEY PLAY II: Trailing 101-98, Joe Johnson calmly draining a 25-foot three-pointer from the right wing to tie the game. Johnson then played solid defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose turnaround jumper from the wing was no good.

KEY PLAY III: Trailing 117-114 with 27 seconds left, Lionel Hollins called a timeout. The Nets ran the ensuing play to perfection, getting Joe Johnson open for a clear three from the left wing. He buried it and the Nets were headed to a third OT.

KEY STRETCH: In the third overtime, Brook Lopez took matters into his own hands. He scored on a power dunk and was fouled. Lopez completed the three-point play for a 120-117 lead. He then hit a floater in the lane for a 122-117 lead and blocked a Michael Carter-Williams' layup attempt.

KEY STAT: The Nets won this game despite being outrebounded 81-53. The Bucks got a staggering 38 offensive rebounds but only scored 29 second-chance points.

NETS GAINS: Joe Johnson referred to the Nets' next four games, beginning with the 129-127 triple overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks, as the team’s stretch run to try to secure a playoff spot. One down, three to go.

TALK: “As I told the players, I’ve been in a lot of overtime games, double overtime, triple overtime as a player and also as a coach. But this was an amazing game."

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