After falling behind by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, it seemed as if Brooklyn was going to coast to a 20-point defeat on the second half of a back-to-back on the road. But that was silly for anyone to assume; the Nets make the improbable reality.
Seven Nets in double-digits led Brooklyn into overtime against Washington, but John Wall silenced the Nets with two clutch shots as the Wizards sealed the 118-113 victory Saturday evening. The loss was Brooklyn’s third in overtime for the season.
Overtime seemed almost out of reach for a Nets team that found stops hard to come by, but Brooklyn ended up outscoring the Wizards 68-48 in the second half. Those 68 points were powered by 6-of-12 shooting from three in the fourth quarter and 13 offensive rebounds during the game.
What finally tied the game came when Caris LeVert tapped out a missed Spencer Dinwiddie three to an open Quincy Acy, who buried the deep three to tie the game at 107 with nine seconds to go. The Wizards went on, though, to outscore the Nets 12-6 in overtime.
Whenever the Nets found success through the early parts of the game, it was due to the play from the bench. The trio of Joe Harris, LeVert and Jarrett Allen combined for 39 points, and they were clicking alongside each other on the court.
Washington’s efficiency from three is what initially put the team on the right foot, starting the first quarter with 5-of-7 shooting from distance. After the Nets went 0-of-8 from three in the first quarter, they ended up making 10 for the game, with most coming in the final moments of regulation.
What kicked off Brooklyn’s 35-point fourth quarter was Acy’s defensive effort. Earning the start tonight over Tyler Zeller as he nursed a sore left hip, Acy notched two blocks in the quarter that sparked Brooklyn’s offense and a 7-2 Nets run.
Brooklyn finished the third quarter on a 7-0 run and extended that to 14-2 into the fourth quarter. Washington got sloppy in the second half, recording 15 turnovers total for the game, and the Nets spent the majority of the fourth quarter within single digits.
Players like Allen Crabbe made the final minutes of the game interesting, as he started to find success from three after struggling all game, going 3-of-10 from distance. Two threes from Crabbe cut the deficit to four points with 2:30 to go, and a three-pointer from Dinwiddie and fast-break bucket from LeVert brought the deficit to one with 1:45 to go.
While the Nets started to get stops down the stretch, they fell on the bad side of some deciding calls. LeVert was called for a charge with a little over a minute to go, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got a little fancy on a pass to toss it out of bounds. After that play, the Nets were forced to start fouling with 18 seconds left.
Still, the three-pointer from Acy was enough to bring the team to overtime. Once the Nets got there, though, Brooklyn could not get anything going offensively. Both LeVert and Dinwiddie missed from three and Allen was being closely guarded in the paint.
Back taps off misses kept Washington alive with second chances, and the Nets paid for them. With the Wizards owning a five-point lead with 38 seconds to go, the Nets found themselves needing a bucket; Hollis-Jefferson made one, but Wall answered with another dagger. Big buckets from Bradley Beal and Wall shut the door on a complete Nets comeback, as Brooklyn never broke through to hold a lead at any point.
Coming off a win Friday night over the Hawks, the Nets nearly went 2-0 on the mini road trip. Saturday’s loss was Brooklyn’s third heartbreaker in the past two weeks. While falling just short, coming back from a 23-point deficit on tired legs added to the admirable efforts of the season.
This team makes things happen, even without the wins to show for it.
The stats: 12 PTS, 5-16 FG, 1-7 3FG, 1-2 FT, 8 REB, 8 AST, 5 TOV, 1 STL, 35 MIN
LeVert’s arguably biggest and most brilliant moment of the game was his tap-out that led to Acy’s game-tying three-pointer. His four offensive rebounds on the night showed he played a big role in Brooklyn’s second chances. While he turned the ball over more than anyone and could not get his shot going, the Nets could not have reached overtime without his heads-up play.
The stats: 16 PTS, 6-10 FG, 4-5 FT, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 TOV, 29 MIN
The rookie showed poise down the stretch, nailing his free throws with seemingly no sign of pressure. Allen tied his career-high in scoring with 16 points and the Nets needed his presence inside. The Wizards made it a point to shut down Allen in the paint in overtime, but Allen has impressed the way he has played in critical moments in games.
The stats: 11 PTS, 3-6 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-3 FT, 2 REB, 1 TOV, 21 MIN
Harris was not the focal point as Brooklyn stormed its way to overtime, but he was a big part of the team inching its way there. His play off the bench was great, working well with his teammates. He was thrown off a little after he stepped on someone’s foot coming down from a shot and tweaking his ankle, but up to that point he was a big part of Brooklyn’s comeback.
The stats: 22 PTS, 9-15 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-5 FT, 4 REB, 7 AST, 3 TOV, 38 MIN
A career-high in assists led the way for a big night from RHJ. He led the team in scoring and set his teammates up for success. His pass out of bounds almost cost Brooklyn the game prior to overtime, but his teammates had his back and bounced back on the next play. Rondae looked like a true leader tonight.