Brooklyn Shocks Phoenix With Big Comeback for Fourth Straight Win

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Final: 02/16/2021

W 128 124

Screenshot courtesy Bleacher Report/Twitter

The question was always there: Could the Nets really do this?

Down by 24 points, without Kevin Durant, without Kyrie Irving and on the second half of a back-to-back against the red-hot Suns. Was a comeback really in the cards?

Well, that deficit went down to 12 after three quarters. Then five. Three. One!

Then a James Harden dagger three-pointer gave the Nets a two-point lead with 30 seconds left. A few defensive stops later, and Brooklyn left the court victorious.

Brooklyn got into an early hole thanks to the team’s lackluster defense. The team lacked energy as Phoenix scored practically at-will on 64.4% shooting in the first half. 

The Suns held all the momentum, but the Nets came out of halftime with a new defensive identity. Stops turned into buckets and Brooklyn improved its presence on the boards, ending the night with a 40-36 rebounding advantage.

James Harden was the facilitator and ignited Brooklyn’s comeback, but the team benefitted from contributions across the roster. The bench stepped up on both ends of the court, particularly as Harden sat out at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and totaled 40 points on the night — led by Jeff Green’s 18. 

Though the Suns turned the ball over just six times, the Nets did a great job in disrupting the team’s rhythm while providing an improved post presence. Chris Paul did his best to keep Phoenix in front in the fourth quarter with 11 straight points scored, but Brooklyn answered each jab with a punch of their own and finished the game on a 12-0 run.

Brooklyn cashed in on 20-of-40 shooting from distance after Monday’s historic night and out-scored the Suns 74-49 in the second half after Phoenix put up 75 first-half points. 

A loss seemed inevitable. The team looked tired and was without the help of two of its All-Stars. But Brooklyn worked little by little in the second half to make this game interesting, and that continued effort amounted to the biggest upset in the NBA this season and the largest halftime deficit overcome in Nets history (21 points).

The win is Brooklyn’s fourth straight and third on the road trip. The tests do not get easier as the Lakers await on Thursday. There is no word yet on whether Irving or Durant will be available, but Brooklyn showed they can surprise no matter the lineup.

If Tuesday was any inclination, this has the potential to be one fun Nets season. 

James Harden

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The stats: 38 PTS, 14-22 FG, 5-11 3PT, 5-5 FT, 7 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 37 MIN

A near triple-double and the game-winning shot? It does not get much better for James Harden.

Harden knew he had to take the leading role with Durant and Irving out, and he delivered and then some. Harden scored or assisted on 18 of Brooklyn’s last 20 points which, of course, included the dagger three-pointer.

The Beard was aggressive when he had to be and involved his teammates throughout the night. The leadership is shining through, and the trade is looking better than ever. 

Joe Harris

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The stats: 22 PTS, 8-13 FG, 4-9 3PT, 2-2 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 31 MIN

Joe Harris deserves a lot of credit for the Nets’ comeback. 

He of course came up big with his three-point shot, but Joe was active in many other ways. He was crafty in driving to the lane and hustled on defense to force deflections and get boards during Brooklyn’s run in the second half.

Joe’s impact was felt on both ends of the court, and he made the Suns pay from three. His confidence extended to his teammates as both the first and second units contributed to the hard-fought victory. 

Jeff Green

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The stats: 18 PTS, 7-14 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-3 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 25 MIN

Jeff Green missed the third quarter after getting elbowed in his torso, but he played big-time minutes for Brooklyn during the fourth-quarter run.

This time coming off the bench, Green was aggressive on offense and crashed the boards for a team-high eight rebounds. His presence inside was important after the Suns out-rebounded the Nets 15-7 in the first quarter.

Uncle Jeff provides great value each game, and the Nets needed his boost off the bench. Green’s defense was just as important as his offense as Brooklyn erased the 24-point deficit. 

Tyler Johnson

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The stats: 17 PTS, 5-10 FG, 5-8 3PT, 2-2 FT, 5 REB, 32 MIN

Tyler Johnson showed out for his first start with the Nets.

Johnson got Brooklyn’s second half off on the right foot as he hit three three-pointers in the third quarter. He played well alongside Harden and Harris as the trio played a large part in getting the Nets back into the game.

Johnson has struggled with inconsistency in his performance and playing time, but him becoming a reliable offensive weapon is a game-changer. Nash has been rewarding Johnson with more time during his recent stretch of improvement, and the commitment is continuing to pay off. 

Landry Shamet

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The stats: 13 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3-6 3PT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO, 22 MIN

Even if Landry went scoreless on the night, his defense in the post down the stretch was big-time. He held his ground and refrained from fouling after Harden gave the Nets the lead, providing great pressure and coming up with another defensive stop.

Add his continued rejuvenated three-point shot, and Shamet was a valuable piece in Brooklyn’s comeback. He especially helped hold down the fort with Harden getting rest in the fourth quarter and gave the Nets a chance with his performance off the bench with key stops and shots. 

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