Jack Leads Nets Past West’s Best

Jarrett Jack hit yet another clutch shot late to lead the Nets to a thrilling 110-108 win over the best team in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors, on Monday night at Barclays Center.

Jack got the game-winner with 1.1 seconds left, with Stephen Curry playing tough defense with two hands in his face. Jack hit the game winner exactly a month ago, also on a Monday night, when the Nets came back from eight points down in the final minute to stun the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jack said of the decisive shot, “That’s just how the play was designed. Coach drew it up, and it was intended for me to, you know, get put in the pick and roll situtation and then, based on what the defense did, make a play. So I saw an alley, they were kind of getting in a little crease against one of my rhythm spots, and I was able to raise up and knock the shot down.”

The Nets are a radically different team from the last time they played a home game on February 6th, and they have won four out of six games since the All-Star Break. Deron Williams is back in the starting lineup at point guard, with Jack coming off the bench. Rookie Markel Brown is starting at shooting guard. Rounding out the starting lineup is Joe Johnson and Alan Anderson at the forwards, and Mason Plumlee at center. Thaddeus Young was acquired from Minnesota for Kevin Garnett, and he is the shooter the Nets needed off the bench.

The Nets dominated this one from the start, as they led 33-23 at the end of the first quarter, powered by 12 points from Brook Lopez and 9 from Alan Anderson. In the second quarter, Golden State pulled to within two, at 51-49 with 3:33 left on a Shaun Livingston lay-up. The Nets battled back and a Lopez jumper made it 57-51 with 2:42 until the half. Incredibly, those were the last points for the first half, as the Nets forced the Warriors to shoot 0-for-6 the rest of the second quarter.

The Nets held the lead throughout the third, and opened up a nine-point edge, 77-68, on a Lopez jumper with 3:41 left. It was still nine with 1:09 left in the frame when Deron Williams hit a three to make it 84-75. Stephen Curry hit a three with 11.7 seconds left to make ti 86-80 Nets going into the fourth.

In the fourth, the Warriors opened on a 10-5 run capped by a Curry three with 9:36 left that made it 91-90 Nets. Thaddeus Young, in his home debut for the Nets, responded with back-to-back threes, and Mason Plumlee got a layup to cap an 8-1 run and make it 99-92 with 8:08 left.

Young said of those two threes, “I think it was huge. At the point in the game, it was huge. Like I said, it was all about executing as a team. We executed and we got good shots. And those two threes were good shots out of the stuff that we were running, and Jarrett did a good job of running it.”

Young had 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, 2-3 on threes, with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. He said of his first game in Brooklyn, “It was great. The fans definitely came out tonight, stood up and they were loud. And the best thing about it is we got a win. Jarrett (Jack) hit a big shot for us down the stretch, and, you know, we sealed the deal. It was definitely one of those exciting experiences to go out there and finally be able to play as a part of this New York crowd, this Brooklyn crowd. They definitely stood up tonight, and I appreciate them coming out and cheering me on.”

The Nets built that lead back to 10 on a Deron Williams jumper with 4;00 left that made it 106-96. The Warriors were not done, as Curry hit three straight from behind-the-arc to make it 108-105 Nets with 2:24 left. The Nets’ basket in between the Curry threes came from Jack at the 3:29 mark, the last points the Nets would score until his game winner.

After a turnover on a bad pass from Williams, Curry tried again from the spot he hit the three straight threes, but this one rimmed out and Draymond Green missed the put-back layup. The Warriors forced another turnover from Williams on a pass to Plumlee, who was immediately pulled for Lopez. Alan Anderson missed a three at the 1:19 mark, and Curry responded by tying it on a 20-foot jumper with 1:09 left.

The final minute was chaotic, as Lopez committed a turnover, and Andrew Bogut of the Warriors did as well. The Nets had it with 20.6 seconds left, and the ball went to Jack, who dribbled it at the top of the key with Curry all over him, and he drained the jumper with 1.1 seconds left to make it 110-108. The Warriors’ last possession was a mess, as Curry tried for a layup that missed, and it looked like it was late anyway.

Jack said of whether he is feeling comfortable at Barclays Center with these big spots, “I think, you know, it’s all about being ready. I didn’t have a huge game shooting the ball. I think chasing stuff around probably had a big reason to do with that, but it’s always staying ready, man – being ready to come in and contribute no matter if it’s a shot with five seconds left or it’s to jump the game off or however, you know what I mean. It’s just being ready and willing to do anything to help the squad.”

On playing against his old team, the Warriors, Jack said, “I mean, these are my old guys. It’s always good to play against your former team. A lot of friends I still have on this team, so…And record-wise, they’re the best team in the league. You always get up for these kinds of games. The first time being back in this building in a minute in front of our fans, so…You know we understand what’s at stake for us being back in this stretch of the season. I’d like to just say, we’re focused, and hopefully we all have that mindset, no matter who we play.”

Stephen Curry finished with 26 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, on 8-for-16 from the field, 6-12 on threes, with 7 assists and 2 rebounds. On the “MVP” chants he heard and the large amount of Warriors fans in the building, Curry said, “I kind of forgot where I was for a second to be honest with you. I think they had so much bottled up excitement because nothing happened in the first half and then all of a sudden it started getting going and we had a big contingency of fans. Taking that three right before the time out, I just kind of went out and looked around and was kind of like ‘where am I?’ kind of a deal because it was loud in there. You love that kind of support on the road and 46-12, we’re a team that is hopefully destined for great things and to have that kind of support is huge.”

On whether Jack will let him hear the end of this one, Curry said, “That’s what he does. He makes big shots, but I played as much defense as I could on that possession and contested him, made him alter just a little bit and he still knocked it down. That kind of was the theme of the last two or three minutes. They hit a big three in the corner, another contested one on top, and that last one, they put the ball back in  (Jack’s) hands and used the screen-and-roll right and obviously executed. It was their night.”

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