The Nets faced their ex-Head Coach Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time this season at Barclays Center, and for the second time they played three overtimes. But, unlike on November 19th, the Nets prevailed 129-127 on Friday night.
The star of the third overtime was Brook Lopez, who scored the first five points of the period on a three-point play and a hook shot. That gave the Nets a 122-117 lead in the first minute, and Giannis Antetokounmpo got a three-point play to pull Milwaukee back to within two with 2:24 left.
Thaddeus Young was fouled by Antetokounmpo, his sixth of the game, with 55.5 seconds left and Young hit both to make it 124-120 Nets. Milwaukee was not down, as Khris Middleton got a jumper and a three to make it 126-125 Brooklyn with 19.7 seconds left.
Jarrett Jack was fouled on the inbounds and he hit both free throws to make it 128-125 Nets with 18.6 seconds left. Milwaukee had chances on their ensuing possession, as Middleton missesd a three, got his own rebound and missed another one from behind the arc. Johnson got the rebound and drained two free throws to make it 129-125 with 8.1 seconds left seal the win.
The Nets were led by Brook Lopez, who had 32 points on 13-for-20 from the field, with 18 rebounds, including 7 on the offensive end, in 42 minutes. Thaddeus Young played 53 minutes, and notched 24 points (8-20 FG, 3-5 on threes), with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Joe Johnson played 48 minutes, and he had 20 points (7-16 FG, 4-6 on threes), with 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
Bogan Bogdanovic became just the third Net in the last 30 years to play over 48 minutes off the bench, joining Terrence Williams, who did it on April 9, 2010, and Leon Wood, who did it January 9, 1987 vs. Portland. Bogdanovic played 49 minutes in this one and poured in 17 points on 7-for-15 from the field and 2-6 on threes, with 5 assists and 3 rebounds.
Jarrett Jack was another second-unit player that was key to this one. Jack played 41 minutes and he had 12 points on 5-for-11 from the field (0-1 on threes), with 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Alan Anderson had 13 points (4-10 FG, 2-4 on threes), with 3 rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes off the bench.
For Milwaukee, Kris Middleton played 56 minutes, and he had 29 points on 11-for-23 from the field, 4-8 on threes, with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Giannis Antetokounmpo played 53:02 before fouling out late in the third overtime, and he had 23 points (7-19 FG), with 14 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Zaza Pachulia had 22 points (9-16 FG) and 21 rebounds, including 18 on the offensive end, an 7 assists in 40 miuntes. Michael Carter-Williams had 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in 46 minutes.
Milwaukee falls under .500, to 34-35 with the loss, in 6th place, 1-1/2 games ahead of the Miami Heat. The Nets improve to 28-39, and gained ground on the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, who are tied for 8th, moving to 1-1/2 games behind them. The Nets also gain a game on the Charlotte Hornets, who lost in Sacramento, for tenth place.
Lopez said of his dunk in the third overtime, “It was just a good look. They had to respect (Jarrett) Jack coming off the pick and roll, and he made a great pass so I was able to finish it easy. It wasn’t just that one play. We stuck with it the entire game. We never gave up, we were down big and our bench was huge for us.”
Lopez said of the importance of the win, “I think it was a big bounce back, especially after last game, and to do it at home especially. Like I said, we stuck with it and I think that was definitely different from earlier in the season. I guess we can look back to our last home game against Milwaukee.”
Jack said of playing the Bucks, “They’re a young, scrappy, athletic ball club. We just fought tonight. Being down and in so many difficult situations throughout the course of the game, guys just didn’t give up. We played like a desperate basketball team tonight – a team that knows that it’s all or nothing with what’s at stake for us as far as postseason contention is concerned. We laid it all out there on the line. The crazy thing is we got one in less than 24 hours (in Indiana), and we gotta do this whole thing over again.”
Johnson said of tonight’s win, “I can’t really describe it. I thought our second unit was the reason why we were in the game. J. Jack, Alan (Anderson), Mason (Plumlee) and those guys came in with energy and gave us life, so we rode their backs as long as we could. I thought they got a little tired, and of course being back here, I just wanted to be aggressive and make plays.”
Young said of the win, “It was crazy. My legs are super tired. Three overtimes – I think that’s the first time I ever did that in my career. Don’t want to do it again – I want to get the game over as soon as possible. But we fought. We continued to go out there and played hard and we executed towards the end. I want to say in the fourth quarter, the team stepped up big. We pushed through and got ourselves back into the game, and we traded baskets and we came out on top.”
Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins on the feel of a game like tonight, “As I told the players, I have been in a lot of overtime games, double overtime games, triple overtime games as a player and also as a coach, this was an amazing game. It looked like we were dead in the water for a minute, and all of the sudden we come back, I look up and we are down four. We walked them down and we just kept competing and kept making plays. They made a lot of plays, we made a lot of plays. We could have crumbled on the 38 offensive rebounds they had, the 18 by (Zaza) Pachulia, but we didn’t and it was a throwback game – 129 shots, 107 for us. I have been in a lot of games as a player where we had 107 shots, but I haven’t been in many as a coach. We had a lot of guys step up, Joe (Johnson) made good shots, Brook (Lopez) got offensive rebounds, Thaddeus (Young) had a couple of offensive rebounds, we got some steals, and then in the end, we actually got two or three defensive rebounds in a row. We threw one to them, we threw one right to the guy for a three-pointer. Just thank God it didn’t go in. (Khris) Middleton hit some big shots. It was just a great game for the fans to watch. I am just thrilled that we got the win.”
Milwaukee Head Coach Jason Kidd said of Lopez’s big plays in the third overtime, “They jumped out early, but I thought the character of the guys showed to keep fighting and to keep grinding. No one dropped their heads, and they kept playing. Again, we had an opportunity to tie late in the third overtime.”