Irving Powers Nets to Hard-Fought Win Over Clippers


Final: 02/02/2021

W 124 120

The Nets were looking to make a statement after Sunday’s disappointing loss, and they did just that against one of the hottest teams in the NBA. 

Behind 90 points from the Big Three, Brooklyn overcame a poor start to pull out a competitive 124-120 victory against the Clippers on Tuesday. The Nets shot 57% from the field as they snapped the Clippers’ three-game winning streak.

A game that had a familiar start also ended in a familiar fashion. After the Clippers opened the game with a 12-point lead, they later made things interesting by cutting the Nets’ lead to as little as one with 14 seconds left — a situation eerily similar to the Wizards’ comeback victory on Sunday

This time, the Nets hit their free throws and opted to foul the Clippers while up three points, which paid off as L.A. never tied. Including a nifty touchdown pass from James Harden to Jeff Green to help seal the deal, the Nets ended up out-scoring the Clippers 36-30 in the fourth quarter for the victory.

The Nets truly found their groove from the second quarter into the third thanks to Kyrie Irving, who scored a team-high 39 points on the night. Brooklyn’s Big Three starred as the team went on a 24-7 run to give the Nets took their first lead of the game in the third quarter. 

Irving was an aggressive force on both ends of the court after admitting he struggled against the Wizards on Sunday. With the three-point shot not falling as consistently (13-for-31), the Big Three often opted to drive the lane, where the team tied the Clippers in points in the paint, 44-44. 

It was a game that had a playoff feel to it as the Nets and Clippers closely battled for the majority of the final three quarters. With recent questions arising about the Nets’ defense, Brooklyn held L.A. to 45.5% shooting and 15-of-36 from three.

The Nets deserve credit for putting cold water on the Clippers’ hot start after Kawhi Leonard started 5-of-5 from the field. Instead, Leonard finished with 33 points and Paul George added 26 as the duo combined to shoot 4-of-12 from three.

With the Nets at near-full-health, the Clippers were a good test to see how Brooklyn can fare against elite teams. It took a bit to lock in, but Brooklyn clamped down defensively and showed improvement from past mistakes — including in their approach to late-game fouling scenarios. The Big Three also found a good balance as they provided a challenge the Clippers to cover defensively.

It was a good step forward for Brooklyn, but now the true challenge: Making this defensive effort the expectation rather than an anomaly. With rest time coming up, the Nets will have an opportunity to build on the momentum and continue to rise in the East.

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 39 PTS, 15-23 FG, 6-8 3PT, 3-3 FT, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK 1 TO, 37 MIN

Kyrie Irving was due for a breakout game.

Irving has admitted recently that he can be better for Brooklyn, and he was aggressive on both sides of the floor on Tuesday. Good things happened whenever Irving had the ball in his hands as he was nearly automatic from deep and applied good pressure on the defensive end, even recording two blocks. 

Irving missed a few shots early but quickly made up for it, including dropping 14 of his season-high 39 points in the third quarter. The benefit of having a Big Three is that Irving does not need to be the primary distributor every night, and the Nets fed off his energy as they successfully closed out the game against L.A. 

Kevin Durant


The stats: 28 PTS, 11-13 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-5 FT, 9 REB, 1 BLK, 5 TO, 38 MIN

Kevin Durant had just 13 field goal attempts and he still almost tallied another 30-point game.

KD had a break from being the go-to player on offense with Kyrie on fire, allowing him to pay more effort to defense and grabbing boards. KD nearly had a double-double as he also became a go-to option in closing out the contest.

One area that hurt the Nets early: KD tallied five of the team’s 16 turnovers. Four of the giveaways happened in the first half, but KD needs to work on being more aware while he is handling the ball and having more care in his passes — especially if he is going to go the night without registering an assist.

James Harden


The stats: 23 PTS, 7-15 FG, 1-6 3PT, 8-8 FT, 11 REB, 14 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO, 43 MIN

James Harden played five more minutes than any other Net and showed his value in each second. 

As the Nets had opted for iso possessions often, Harden was by far the primary play-maker for Brooklyn. The Beard had nine assists by halftime and finished with his fourth triple-double of the year.

Though Harden struggled from three-point range, he did a good job in taking care of the ball with three turnovers on the night. Harden also continued to work well with the second unit as the bench was competitive early on against L.A.

Joe Harris


The stats: 13 PTS, 5-11 FG, 3-7 3PT, 4 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO, 35 MIN

It was not another 30-point game for Joe, but he continues to show his versatility.

Joe got the Nets off to a better start after a low-scoring first quarter, helping Brooklyn out-score the Clippers 33-26 in the second quarter. Though he had just three three-pointers, he finished a team-high plus-16 during his time on the court.

Joe adapts to the challenge each night, this time helping to find open teammates and be active on the boards — including a valuable offensive rebound. With Irving as the offensive leader for the night, Joe applied just enough support to help give the Nets a boost when needed. 

DeAndre Jordan


The stats: 7 PTS, 3-4 FG, 1-4 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 16 MIN

DJ has left much to be desired recently, but he played an important role off the bench against the Clippers.

Brooklyn’s bench struggled offensively, totaling just 14 points, but DJ gave good production on the boards as the Nets out-rebounded L.A. 50-45. The Clippers had more offensive boards, but DJ worked well with the second unit to do a bit of everything — including a steal.

Nets fans often want more from DeAndre, but he gave good minutes off the bench to help the team get back in the game in the second quarter.