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That’s more like it! Nets snap 7-game losing streak with Kilpatrick in starring role

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Los Angeles Clippers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images


They say when it rains it pours, but the Nets FINALLY ended their seven game losing streak against one of the West’s best, the Los Angeles Clippers (14-5). The Nets (5-12) appeared to be losing its eighth straight game, but a 34-point effort in the fourth quarter and a monster night from Sean Kilpatrick ended the losing streak, 127-122 (2OT).

Kilpatrick had a career-high 38 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov got a firsthand look at the rebuilding project his franchise is undergoing, spending most of the fourth quarter and two overtimes, like the rest of the Brooklyn fans, on the edge of his seat.

The Clippers, who beat the Nets by 32 two weeks back, were going in a similar direction in the first half. L.A. led Brooklyn by 12 at the break and then carried the momentum into the third quarter, seemingly trying to put the Nets away well before the fourth. Following two 3-pointers from Austin Rivers, the Clippers went on an 11-0 run late in the quarter and extended the lead to 18.

Game over?

It was looking like the same old script. Brook Lopez kept the Nets’ offense afloat in the first half, and then Los Angeles adjusted and forced the Nets to find offense elsewhere. Without Jeremy Lin in the rotation, the Nets had to turn elsewhere for an offensive spark.

Enter Sean Kilpatrick, who had just seven points through three quarters, as the Nets entered the fourth trailing by 13. Kilpatrick went off, scoring 20 points and bringing the Nets back from the dead, and tying the game with baseline jumper late in the fourth. On the following possession, they took the lead thanks to a Brook Lopez 3-pointer.

The Nets looked like they were going to take this one until, yes, Chris Paul hit a game-tying three with 1.8 seconds to go. Sigh. Tie score, 107-107, and to overtime we went.

Early on in overtime it was looking like we were in for another home loss. That was until Kilpatrick and the Nets defense took over — with a little help from Doc Rivers, who lost his composure in a 2-point game, with 18 seconds to go. After Isaiah Whitehead missed both technical free throws, Kilpatrick hit one of two to put the Nets up by three. Naturally, Jamal Crawford hit a game-tying three to send the game into double overtime tied at 118-118.

The problem with taking the Clippers to double overtime is that you keep giving possessions to Chris Paul. Dude will keep beating you if you keep giving him opportunities to beat you. Then again, the Kilpatrick had some special night.

With the Nets up by two, less than 20 seconds to go, Kilpatrick drove to the hoop -- count the bucket, and the foul. He made the free throw and the game was effectively over. Final score, Nets 127, Clippers 122.

“We showed a lot of character and resiliency, just grinded it out, really proud how our guys played,’’ said coach Kenny Atkinson, who noted the Nets losing streak began in L.A. against the Clippers. “I guess you’re a little happier, because they did give us a good beating, to put it in New York-ese. I’m more proud of seven losses in a row and playing against a really good team, showing the character and resiliency. It was good to see.”

Kilpatrick finished with a career-high 38 points to go along with 14 rebounds. It was a career high in points, rebounds, minutes and field goals as well as his second career double-double. He’s now averaging 14.8 points per game.

There were Nets milestones as well. The last time an undrafted player had a big night like that was Anthony Morrow who scored 42 in February 2012 and the last time a Nets player had a better game than 38 and 14 was Vince Carter. Both of those games were played in New Jersey, not Brooklyn. And the 18-point comeback was the biggest for the Nets since they left New Jersey.

“I ended getting into a zone,’’ Kilpatrick said. “At that point there was no turning back for me.

“Yeah, when we went to L.A., they got us bad and that was really something that stuck in our minds. … To grab a win like that against a top team is huge.”

Kilpatrick wasn’t alone, although he played the starring role. Lopez finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and hit 4-of-9 from three. The 7-footer is now shooting 37 percent from deep. Trevor Booker had a double-double at 15 points and 11 rebounds while wings Bojan Bogdanovic (early) and Joe Harris (late) chipped in. Bogdanovic finished with 14, including 10-of-12 free throws and Harris with 15, on 5-of-9 shooting. He also had a career high three steals.

Locker room audio can be found here.

Next up for the Nets, Thursday night against Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks.