Rapid Reaction: Nets 102, Clippers 98 (OT)
March, 11, 2011
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: All-Star point guard Deron Williams can stay in Dallas for all the New Jersey Nets care. All right, that's just a joke. Granted, the Nets didn't need Williams again on Friday night as they rallied from a 20-point deficit to down the Los Angeles Clippers 102-98 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd -- the team's second all season -- at the Prudential Center. New Jersey (21-43) has now won four consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009. The Nets also won both of their games without Williams, who stayed at home while his wife gave birth to their fourth child on Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, the loss by the Clippers (25-41) snapped their four-game winning streak.
THE DIFFERENCE: The Nets scored the first four points of overtime -- courtesy of a pair of interior buckets by Brook Lopez -- and seven of the first nine to open up a five-point lead, 101-96, after Jordan Farmar drained a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the extra session. Eventually, the Clippers sliced that deficit to within three after Blake Griffin got a layup. They even had a chance to tie late, but Mo Williams' 3-pointer clanged off the back rim with 13.8 seconds remaining and Farmar split a pair at the stripe with 11.2 seconds left to make it a two-possession game, 102-98, and effectively end it.
AND WE'RE TIED: The Nets thought they were going to emerge with a victory in regulation after Lopez got an up-and-under layup to go with 3.8 seconds left. However, on the Clippers' ensuing possession Griffin took the ball hard to the rim and was fouled trying to dunk with 1.2 seconds left. Had he made both, Los Angeles would've left with a win. But he didn't, missing the back end of a pair of free throws that sent the game to overtime tied at 94-94.
TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed by as many as 20 in the first half, but rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 31-16 to take a 68-67 lead into the fourth. They scored 22 of the first 28 points of the third, taking their first lead since the 7:43 mark of the first when Farmar converted a layup to make it 59-57 with 4:50 remaining in the quarter. New Jersey shot 65 percent in the period.
MR. PERFECT: Most of the fans in attendance came to see Griffin -- and he certainly put on a show. But so did Kris Humphries. He posted 19 points and career-high 20 rebounds while shooting a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from the foul line. He didn't hold Griffin to 11 points like last time, when the teams played in Los Angeles -- Griffin got 23 and nine in this one -- but Humphries basically outplayed him for much of the evening.
STEPPING UP: Farmar made up for Williams' absence in a big way, tying Lopez with game-high 24 points. Farmer didn't have any in the first half, but notched 20 in the second half on 8-for-10 shooting and 4-for-5 from 3-point range. And, of course, his 3-pointer in the extra session proved to be the difference.
NUMBER CRUNCHING: The Nets shot just 26.1 percent in the first quarter, 35.7 percent in the first half. However, they turned it up a notch in the second half, converting on 60 percent of their field goals.
HAMMERTIME: Griffin had five dunks -- all of them of the emphatic, SportsCenter highlight-reel variety. His two best came in the first quarter: a left-handed alley-oop flush in transition and a breakaway throwdown in which his entire right arm looked like it was above the rim before he finished.
UP NEXT: No reprieve for the Nets, who have to welcome the Boston Celtics to the Prudential Center on Monday night. Of course, New Jersey should have Williams for that matchup. Head coach Avery Johnson has said he expects his 26-year-old All-Star to be back on Saturday.