The Nets held on for a 92-88 win over New York on Friday night at Barclays Center, as a Jarrett Jack three in the final minute sealed the victory. This is the Nets’ third straight win, and the miserable team from Manhattan drops to 10-40 on the season.
Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets with 22 points on 11-for-18 shooting, with 9 rebounds and 6 blocks. Jarrett Jack had 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including making his only three-point attempt, the one late in the fourth, 8 assists, and 2 rebounds.
The Nets came out firing and took a 21-8 lead on a Lopez tip-in at the 4:47 mark of the first quarter. New York chipped away and pulled to within six on a Tim Hardaway, Jr., three with 28.4 seconds left, and Deron Williams responded with a step-back jumper to make it 29-21 Nets at the end of the first.
The Nets were up by as many as 17, at 42-25, on a Lopez hook shot with 7:08 left in the second. Just like the first, New York chipped away and went on a 16-3 run capped by an Anthony three-point play to make it 45-41 Nets with 2:55 until the half. The Nets responded with an 8-2 run capped by a Kevin Garnett put-back, Anthony got a couple of free throws to make it 53-45 Nets at halftime.
In the third, Jose Calderon had nine points, draining three 3-pointers, to help New York take a 66-64 lead. It went back and forth in the final few minutes, and a Carmelo Anthony jumper gave New York a 70-68 lead entering the fourth. New York outscored the Nets 25-15 in the third quarter.
In the fourth, New York took a 75-73 on a Hardaway, Jr., three with 9:39 remaining. The Nets countered with an 8-0 run, with Bojan Bogdanovic getting four points in the stretch, to take an 81-75 lead with 4:52 left.
Down the stretch, it seemed like New York was getting away with a lot of loose ball and reach-in fouls, yet Brook Lopez got called for two fouls away from the ball which could have easily gone the other way as there was mutual contact. New York got as close as one, at 85-84 on Anthony free throws with 2:37 left. A Lopez hook shot made it 87-84 with 1:38 left. On the next New York possession, Lopez was called for a foul on Jason Smith away from the ball, and because the Knicks were over the limit, Smith got two free throws and he hit both to make it 87-86 Nets.
After Anthony missed a turnaround jumper with 37.8 seconds left, the Nets had the ball, and they called a timeout with 23.7 seconds left. The inbounds went to Joe Johnson, who took it from the left corner, and as he was dribbling near the top of the key, dished it to Jack, who was wide open, as there was not one New York player on that side of the court. Jack drained the three to send the Nets fans in the crowd into a frenzy and make it 90-86 Nets with just 13.8 seconds left.
Jack said of this play, “To start, coach. Coach (Lionel Hollins) drew up a beautifully executed play, that’s exactly how it was drawn up. We tried to put them in a situation that if they didn’t help on Joe, he was going to have a clear lane to the basket and then if they both collapsed on me, you’ve got to give Joe credit for being a willing and able passer and I got a clean look and just tried to knock it down.”
Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of using Jack and Johnson in the pick-and-roll to free up Jack for the three, “Well, I didn’t think (Jose) Calderon would sniff it out. He was smart. He sniffed it out and then he actually tried to switch and Melo (Anthony) kept coming. I don’t think Calderon wanted to double, but Joe was going to be wide open coming into the middle, and so they both went with it, and Jarrett was wide open and he made a three, thank God.”
Anthony responded with a quick driving lay-up to make it 90-88 with 10.6 seconds left. They then fouled Johnson, but they were under the limit, so Hardaway, Jr., had to foul Jack with 8.4 seconds left and Jack hit the two free throws to make it 92-88 Nets and seal the win.
Hollins said of their confidence closing this one out, “It’s just confidence, and poise, and execution. I mean, just doing the things that you need to do. You know, we got behind and as I told them after the game, it was a good growth spurt becaue, you know, that was a game where we had control of the game, they fought back, took the lead, and we fought back, and in the last three minutes we just executed, got good shots, got some stops and got some rebounds. The last play where Jarrett (Jack) hit the three was awesome. I got excited about that because, you know, we called a timeout, we went out, we executed and we got pretty much what we wanted. It was either going to be Joe (Johnson) or Jarrett, and I’m just thrilled, happy. As I said before, it is humbling when you see your team start coming together and play and they’re starting to see what I see and understand what I mean in different situations, and that’s a lot of fun. That’s what this business is about, and I’m just thankful that the guys are starting to do it.”
Deron Williams, who had 5 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, said of the team’s confidence, “The last three games have been great, three wins in a row. Tonight was another one where things didn’t go right for us, but down the stretch we find ways to win. We got stops when we needed to, made plays when we needed to and got the win.”
Williams said of the feeling around the team right now, “I think it’s what we envisioned at the beginning of the season, our depth being key for us and now the last three games, especially, you can see that. We’ve got multiple options out there, Brook (Lopez) has it going one minute, Joe has it going one minute, and Jarrett finishes off the game. It was definitely a team effort.”
Jack said of the key to the Nets’ three-game winning streak, “To be honest; going through the losing. You know what I’m saying? I think all of us got to a point where we were fed up with out performance individually and collectively and sometimes if you want to get to the top you’ve got to visit the bottom a little bit.”
The key to beating New York is to shut down Carmelo Anthony, and the Nets did just that. Anthony shot a pathetic 6-for-23 of the field, and 0-for-5 on threes, but still led them with 21 points, as he made nine free throws.
Hollins said of Alan Anderson’s defense to shut down Anthony, “He did a good job. You know, almost fouled out (referring to Anderson’s five fouls). He did a good job. Carmelo’s a tough cover man, the guy is strong, he’s quick, he can shoot, he can drive, he can post. So, you know we just had to battle him all night.”