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Nets squander double digit lead and lose to Clippers, 127-119

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — As Biggie said in The What, “Everything you get you gotta work hard for it.”

That’s Brooklyn’s mantra. Despite injuries, despite playing in the second night of a back-to-back, they knew they’d have to work harder than everybody else to get what they want. And in this case, it’s wins.

It didn’t happen, at least not on Biggie night, where the Los Angeles Clippers (10-5) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (7-10), 127-119, Saturday night at Barclays Center. The Nets are 0-4 on the second night of back-to-backs.

“I thought their bench did a phenomena job. Give them credit,” said Kenny Atkinson. “I thought they brought the energy. We obviously missed some shots, but I thought Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, obviously those guys came in and changed the game.”

The Nets led nearly the entire way — mostly by double digits. They didn’t play particularly well on the defensive end, but their offense propelled them throughout.

Then in the fourth, behind their bench, Los Angeles took their first lead of the night after a 9-0 run and three free throws from Lou Williams, which gave the Clips a 102-101 lead. They finished the night with a 25-18 advantage from that point on — 37-22 in the fourth quarter — and made Brooklyn’s concerted effort mean nothing.

“In that third quarter, there was a stretch there where they went on that run and again, give credit to their bench. I thought they came in and outplayed us,” said Atkinson after the game.

Jarrett Allen recorded his fifth double-double of the season with a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. His previous career-high was 20 points last year against the Lakers.

“[I] was just thanking my teammates. They kept looking for me in the first quarter and all throughout the game, so it was really just pick-and-rolls,” said Allen.

D’Angelo Russell also played well for a second consecutive night, finishing with 23 points and a season-high 10 assists, one turnover.

The Nets as a whole shot 46 percent from deep. Allen Crabbe finally caught fire and hit three 3-pointers to go with 15 points on the night.

“That slump that I’ve been in, it’s always good to see the ball go through the hoop. Just kept firing it. It’s all about sticking with it,” said Crabbe. “That’s the only way you’re going to get out of a slump. Coaching staff tells me to keep shooting. Nobody’s telling me to stop. Just got to keep at it until it clicks. Hopefully this game gets it in the right direction.”

For LAC, Danilo Gallinari went off for 28 points, while Long Island native Tobias Harris dropped 27 points and eight rebounds. They turned the ball over just eight times and shot better than 50 percent from the field.

“[I saw] that we didn’t have it and Brooklyn played great,” said Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers. “They were attacking us, they were spaced out. I was laughing; I said at the beginning of the third quarter that I think this was going to be a night that we’re going to put lineups that we’ve never seen before. We were trying to find energy. In the fourth quarter as it started clicking, we kept scoring.”

Still, Rivers thinks things will work out for Brooklyn.

“I love how they’re playing. Finally, you can see how the culture’s changed. I think they’re headed in the right direction,” he added. “They play right, they really do. They hit the open guy, they make the right plays. They’re gonna learn how to win.”

... Sigh.

COMING OFF BIG WIN IN WASHINGTON

The Nets are coming off a big 115-104 victory over the Wizards, one in which they completely dominated Washington in the second half behind the lead of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen. They snapped a 3-game skid and finally ended the hangover from the Caris LeVert injury.

“I don’t think we get that win last year or the year before,” said Atkinson after the Wizards game but alas, Saturday’s game was a reminder of last season, a late collapse filled with mistakes.

TOBIAS HARRIS ... NETS TARGET?

Tobias Harris, the Long Island native, had 27 points and eight rebounds, looking like a perfect stretch 4 in the Nets system. And he’s a free agent this summer. Would he be a Nets target? Would he want to return to hometown glory?

Bound by tampering rules, all Atkinson would say post-game is, “He’s an excellent player.”

“He just hit a lot of tough shots. … I thought Tobias, we did a pretty good job. But he hit some really tough shots,” Atkinson said.

Harris liked the idea of playing before “family and friends,” but admitted he liked winning more and word is that he’d like to re-sign with the Clippers. Doc Rivers is a big fan.

“[Off the court] he’s one of the great ones. He’s just a great kid. You want a Tobias Harris,” Rivers said. “You want him on your team. You want him in your locker room. You want him around all your guys: You want him around the veterans, you want him around the young guys. His work ethic, what he stands for. He’s just a solid guy. And he’s great to have.”

NO RODI

Even though Kenny Atkinson praised Rodions Kurucs as being crucial to the Nets win over Washington Friday, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s return to good health once again relegated the rookie to the bench. RHJ had eight points and four rebounds in 12 minutes, going to the line six times.

CITY EDITION NIGHT

The Brooklyn Nets debuted their city edition jerseys which pay homage to Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G. The Nets’ marketing department has shifted their focus on the rapper who passed away in 1995. They started with the jerseys, which have a Coogi theme, replicating Biggie’s style.

They even altered the court!

... And then took it off. The covering proofed slippery and Sean Marks had it removed before the game.

There’s been debate on whether Biggie would’ve been a Knicks or Nets fan. His mother, Voletta Wallace, told me last year he would have “Definitely been a Nets fan.”

There ya have it.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective, head on over to ClipsNation, our sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Heat in Miami on Tuesday at 7:30pm.