I have no idea what just happened.
The Nets were cruising to a regular loss to the Eastern Conference-best Atlanta Hawks, who have thoroughly dominated them all season, trailing 12 midway through the fourth quarter. Both teams were scoring, but the Hawks had an answer for nearly every attack the Nets put up throughout most of the game. Joe Johnson hits a big floater? Al Horford returns with a slam dunk. Things like that.
Then the Hawks just stopped scoring. Open shots rimmed out. Oddly well-defended possessions ended in turnovers or bad shots. And in the blink of an eye, a 16-3 Nets run set up another ridiculous, exciting finish at Barclays Center, an arena that’s had no shortage of those these days.
It didn’t end well for the Nets, but given the nature of the first three games — hell, the first three quarters of this game — it was frankly amazing it came down to the buzzer.
The stats: 26 PTS, 8-17 FG, 10-10 FT, 10 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK
Scoring came easy for Lopez once again, but he was clearly the second-best center on the floor as he struggled to contain or run with Al Horford all night, and then made arguably the biggest defensive miscue of the night, leaving Al Horford open for a dunk with 19.1 seconds left to give the Hawks the lead. Without that play, he’s cruising for an A.
Give him credit for picking up all of the rebounds near the end, the biggest giving Bogdanovic one more shot at the lead, even if the shot didn’t fall.