Nets Overcome Late-Game Collapse, Snap Losing Streak in San Antonio

B

Final: 03/01/2021

W 124 – 113

Wins in San Antonio do not come easily for Brooklyn, but Monday night was on another level. 

In a game they led by 10 points with just over two minutes left in regulation, the Nets escaped with a 124-113 overtime victory against the Spurs. The win ends a 19-year regular-season losing streak for the Nets on San Antonio’s home court.

Mayhem ensued in the final minutes of regulation. The Spurs went on an 8-0 run to come within two points with 40 seconds left, but a missed layup by Kyrie Irving gave San Antonio an extra chance. Dejounte Murray managed to get a shot off after losing control of the ball to force overtime.

Brooklyn gave the Spurs little time to celebrate, though, as Irving and James Harden led an offensive outburst in overtime. Thanks to some timely three-pointers and defensive stops, the Nets out-scored San Antonio 16-5 in the final five minutes to secure the victory. 

Though the Nets had Irving back after a one-game absence, their recent defensive struggles continued. The team got off to a quick start in the first half, building as large as a 12-point lead, but had to fend off a resilient Spurs team throughout the night. 

The Nets’ defense left room for improvement, but their ball movement was the key on the night to their offensive success. After recording an impressive 19 assists in the first half, Brooklyn totaled 35 assists on 47 made field goals alongside just five (!) turnovers. 

There was no better example of the team’s connection on Monday than the success found with Nic Claxton on the floor. In just his fourth game played of the season, Claxton was a regular recipient of dishes from Harden and Irving as he recorded a career-high 17 points in as many minutes off the bench.

Thanks in part to Claxton, the Nets won the battle in the paint with a 56-42 points advantage and 59-56 in rebounds. Bruce Brown was also nearly unstoppable with his 23-point night while stepping up with big buckets in overtime.

The Spurs’ offense gave the Nets a battle as six players registered double figures. DeMar DeRozan had a strong night with 22 points and 11 assists while Murray added 19 points and eight assists.

It was not an easy night for Brooklyn, and the defensive breakdowns were amplified in the fourth-quarter collapse. Luckily for the Nets, having two All-Stars on the court paid dividends to close out the game in overtime. 

It was a night that was longer than expected, but Brooklyn was able to rebound thanks to great supplemental performances from Brown and Claxton. The effort on defense and taking care of the ball was a clear improvement from the team’s showing against Dallas on Saturday

The Nets will have one more opportunity to work on end-of-regulation scenarios before the All-Star break when they visit the Rockets on Wednesday. It will be a meaningful game on multiple levels. 

Watch out for a monster performance from Harden. 

James Harden

A

The stats: 30 PTS, 12-23, 3-7 3PT, 3-4 FT, 14 REB, 15 AST, 2 STL, 44 MIN

What a monster triple-double from James Harden.

Harden came alive offensively in the second half and overtime after entering halftime with just six points. He racked up the assists quickly tonight, reaching double digits in the blink of an eye thanks to his connection with Claxton.

Not to mention, Harden was big on the boards highlighted by four offensive rebounds on the night. Harden was the head of Brooklyn’s efficient ball movement as he recorded zero turnovers, but his added offensive aggression in the second half and overtime was a game-changer as helped provide daggers from distance. 

Kyrie Irving

B+

The stats: 27 PTS, 9-24 FG, 6-10 3PT, 3-4 FT, 6 REB, 7 AST, 1 BLK, 42 MIN

Kyrie did not have the best shooting night, but you could never tell if you only watched his overtime performance. 

Kyrie joined Harden in the zero turnover club and dished some flashy assists in the process. The two of them are loving their new interior lob-recipient in Claxton.

Kyrie did miss what would have been the game-sealing layup, but he made up for it with his three-point shooting in overtime. He does not always have to be a top scorer for Brooklyn to win, but his teammates stepped up as he struggled from the field overall on 37.5% shooting. 

Bruce Brown

A

The stats: 23 PTS, 10-13 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 35 MIN

What can’t Bruce Brown do?

Switching back to shooting forward a game after starting at guard against the Mavericks, Bruce was nearly unstoppable. He shot 76.9% on the night while adding a big three-pointer and floater in overtime to help seal the deal.

Not to mention, Brown’s defense helped spur on some of the Nets’ offense when stops were hard to come by. A fifth straight double-digit scoring game for Brown as his role in the rotation continues to blossom. 

Nicolas Claxton

A+

The stats: 17 PTS, 7-9 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-3 FT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3 BLK, 17 MIN

Nic Claxton gets the gold star on the night.

Claxton was an immediate impact player — as soon as he stepped on the court, he was getting buckets. Claxton recorded 13 points in 9 minutes during the second quarter alone and broadened his game defensively with three blocks.

Despite the strong performance, he also did get banged around a bit with a rolled ankle and hit in the face. Still, his agility was on display as he gives the Nets an extra weapon in the paint and his connection with Harden continues to grow. 

Joe Harris

C

The stats: 9 PTS, 3-10 FG, 3-8 3PT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 40 MIN

Joe is on a bit of a cold stretch over the last two games.

He was not alone on Monday, though. Landry Shamet and Tyler Johnson both struggled from distance off the bench, combining to to shoot 3-of-11 from three. 

Joe does not have many off nights, and he will likely bounce back soon. If anything, the All-Star break will give him a chance to reset for the second half of the season — and his teammates are helping to make up for the lost production in the meantime. 

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