The Brooklyn Nets have defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 124-120. The Nets advance to 14-9 while the Clippers go to 16-6.
The Clippers got off to a hot start, including Nicolas Batum hitting two early threes. LA was up 14-4, forcing the Nets to call an early timeout at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter. Additionally, Kawhi Leonard made his impact known early, with 12 points, four assists, two blocks, and two steals on 4 of 4 shooting in the first quarter. After starting the game shooting nine for 11, the Clippers went cold shooting 0 for their next nine. At the end of the quarter, the Clippers led 32-24.
First, the Nets started to come alive early in the second quarter, starting the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to two. Second, midway through the quarter, the Clippers went on an 11-2 run to take an 11 point lead. Following LA’s run, the Nets ended the half on a 12-2 run, making the half time score 58-57 Clippers. For the Nets to take control of the game, they will need to do a better job on the boards, as they allowed 8 offensive rebounds to the Clippers in the first half.
The Nets’ offense was on fire to start the second half. The remainder of the quarter was both teams exchanging baskets. Batum got hot late in the third, with a 4 point play, followed by another three-pointer. Furthermore, Paul George hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the 3rd quarter, giving the Clippers a 90-88 lead.
The fourth quarter continued as a back and forth affair. Kyrie Irving could not miss in the fourth, scoring basket after basketball for Brooklyn.
James Harden hit a clutch three with four minutes remaining to give the Nets an eight-point lead. Then, Harden was fouled on a three-point shot with 2:36 remaining and hit all three free throws, giving the Nets a nine-point lead. Next, Kevin Durant hit a clutch three with 1:50 remaining to give the Nets a 118-108 lead. Following the Durant bucket, the Clippers came back with a Batum three to cut the deficit to seven.
The Final Minute
Marcus Morris got a score on Irving and was additionally fouled, cutting the deficit to four with 48 seconds remaining. With 32 seconds remaining, Harden got called for an offensive foul on Morris, giving the Clippers the ball. Next, George hit a clutch 3 with 25 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one. The Clippers then fouled Durant with nine seconds remaining, and Durant hit both free throws, making the Nets lead three. As the Clippers had no timeouts remaining, so Ty Lue didn’t have the luxury of drawing up a play.
Then, the Nets decided to foul Leonard with seven seconds remaining to avoid the Clippers getting a three-pointer to tie the game. Leonard hit both free throws. Jeff Green was wide open down the other end of the court, made the layup, and got fouled. Green, however, missed the free throw, giving the Clippers an opportunity to tie the game. Then, the Nets decided to foul, not giving the Clippers the opportunity to tie the game. Batum missed the first free throw and made the second. Finally, Irving iced the game with 1.9 seconds remaining after making two free throws. Despite the Clippers’ push in the final minutes, the Nets did enough to win the game.
Overall, late in the fourth, the Nets’ big three was just too much to handle for the Clippers, despite their usually potent defense.
The Nets also made a change in their starting lineup tonight, starting Jeff Green at the center spot in place of DeAndre Jordan. This move was made to better match up with the Clippers, as Green is a better matchup for the Clippers starting center Serge Ibaka who stretches the floor and Jordan is a better matchup for Ivica Zubac, the Clippers backup center, who plays inside. However, it remains to be soon if Steve Nash will continue with this lineup change for the foreseeable future.
Upcoming Game for the Nets
Brooklyn will be off tomorrow and Thursday as they prepare for their second game on the three-game homestand. On Friday, the Nets will take on the Toronto Raptors. The game will start at 7:30 PM EST and of course, will be broadcasted on the YES Network, as well as ESPN.
Performances of Note
Kyrie Irving – 39 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 15-23 FG, 6-8 3PT, 3-3 FT, 36 minutes
Kevin Durant – 28 points, 9 rebounds, 11-13 FG, 5-5 FT, 38 minutes
James Harden – 23 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, 7-15 FG, 1-6 3PT, 8-8 FT, 32 minutes
Joe Harris – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 5-11 FG, 3-7 3PT, 34 minutes
Los Angeles Clippers:
Kawhi Leonard – 33 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 12-24 FG, 1-5 3PT, 8-9 FT, 39 minutes
Paul George – 26 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 11-24 FG, 3-7 3PT, 36 minutes
Nicolas Batum – 21 points, 6 rebounds, 7-10 FG, 5-8 3PT, 2-3 FT, 38 minutes
Marcus Morris – 16 points, 4 rebounds, 6-10 FG, 3-6 3PT, 30 minutes