BROOKLYN, N.Y. — You think you’ve seen weird NBA games, well this one took weird to another level. The best part? The two teams will face off again on Friday. And it’ll be the Hornets who have to redeem themselves, not the Brooklyn Nets.
In double overtime, the Brooklyn Nets (17-19) defeated the Charlotte Hornets (16-17), 134-132, Wednesday night at Barclays Center, the deciding points a fast break off a steal by Joe Harris with 3.4 seconds.
It’s their second straight victory and ninth in the last 10 games, making them the hottest team in the NBA within that span.
Here’s how it went down...
The Nets went down by eight with a little more than three minutes left in the game. Kemba Walker scored 12 straight points and it looked like it might be a lost cause.
But then, they changed their strategy. They either played in a zone or double teamed Kemba late and forced him to give up the ball. Really, it was a box-and-one, an adjustment Kenny Atkinson made and might have saved their chances.
“It was a box-and-one, yeah. It threw Kemba’s rhythm off, where they started picking on me with Malik Monk, so Coach went to zone where he couldn’t pick on me. So, they were still scoring but it came where Kemba had to make one or two passes. Really, it took the ball out of Kemba’s hands and once he gave it up it was basically a box-and-one. Deny him and make someone else beat us,” Jared Dudley told me afterwards.
... And when was that made?
“Kenny made the adjustment late in the fourth after he hit two threes against me. Credit Coach Kenny.”
Walker took notice.
“It was crazy. The way they guarded me, I don’t know if anyone else in this league is getting guarded like they guarded me. It was like a box-and-one. I haven’t seen that since I was in college. It was crazy.”
In the end, Spencer Dinwiddie put the Nets on his back.
He was involved in 17 of Brooklyn’s final 18 points in the fourth quarter, seven straight possessions between the two teams that resulted in a three-point play.
As the Nets trailed by one with time ticking down and zero timeouts left, DeMarre Carroll heaved a shot and got fouled. He tied the game with the first free throw and then missed the second. But hold on. Lane violation. Another free throw... and another miss.
Onto overtime we went...
And the Nets missed one of two free throws to tie the game at 121 apiece. They missed five free throws on the night — three were in go-ahead situations late in the fourth and ate in overtime.
No matter, because Dinwiddie face-guarded Walker the entire defensive possession and forced Tony Parker to brick a contested mid-range jumper. The Nets just barely missed with 0.6 second left.
Onto overtime no. 2...
The two teams went back and forth, but the Nets weren’t going to get beat by Walker. Dinwiddie missed on a potential go-ahead three and it was Charlotte ball with 25.6 seconds left.
As Dinwiddie forced Walker to pass it out, the game was suddenly in Malik Monk’s hands.
And then it wasn’t. Rodions Kurucs pressured Monk, the ball came loose and Harris was off to the races.
Joe Harris came off a double and stripped Monk, who then trotted down the floor and hit the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left. Charlotte got one last heave up, but it was off and the Nets won in absolutely wild fashion.
Dinwiddie is asserting himself not only as a star for this team, but a star in this league. He finished with 37 points and 11 assists on a career-high seven three-pointers. He was three points shy of his career-high. More importantly, it was only the fifth time in NBA history that a player came off the bench and racked up a 35/10 game.
Here’s his highlights...
The hero, Harris, finished with a season-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting and one glorious game-winner.
Here’s his highlights...
Meanwhile, Rodions Kurucs (13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block) became the first Nets rookie to record a double-double in consecutive games since Terrence Williams in the 2009-10 season. Meanwhile, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played 42 minutes and put up 15/16/6 and three blocks.
“Rodi (Rodions Kurucs) hit a big corner three, Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) had two great finishes. I mean, everybody played a part,” said Kenny Atkinson. “Just a total team win. Sure Spencer, Spencer hit some amazing shots, but there were a lot of big plays from the whole group and that’s kind of how we’re built, that’s how we’re going to keep going forward.”
Walker finished with 35 points in 44 minutes, while Jeremy Lamb dropped 31.
And to cap it all off, for the first time since 2005-2006, the Nets have 17 wins before New Year’s. That starting lineup consisted of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Nenad Krstic.
The Nets trailed the sixth-seeded Hornets by 1.5 games entering Wednesday. They’re inching closer and closer (see below).
And one League Pass viewer came away very impressed...
DLO SITS LATE AGAIN
We’ve lost count, but D’Angelo Russell was on the bench for crunch time... again. Here was Kenny’s explanation:
“It’s just a feel. Listen, he’s also closed out a lot of games and helped us win a lot of games so it’s just a feel. I think it’s matchup based – sometimes who we can guard and how we’re matching up defensively. Like I said, he’s closed a lot of games for us. He’s 22 years old and sometimes it’s not the worst thing in the world to watch it. But I know this, his spirit on the bench was unbelievable, in the huddle, you know unbelievable in the locker room after, he’s been a great soldier. As good a player as he is, he understands. And next game, next close game, I’m sure he’ll be in there.”
We’ll let Kenny sort it out.
CHASING THE PLAYOFFS
The Nets began their home and home against the Charlotte Hornets, a game and a half behind the Hornets (and Heat). They finished the night a half-game out of eighth, a game out of sixth.
Here are some games to keep track of:
ED DAVIS: LONG-TERM PIECE?
As we reported on December 16, Ed Davis would love to remain a Brooklyn Net. He told NetsDaily he “Loves” everything about the organization, from the performance team to the coaching staff to the players. He explained how his experience here is like no other team he’s been on.
Ed Davis is very good and he wants to be here long-term. Just saying.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 16, 2018
Add Ed Davis to the list of Nets that want to stay because they like what the organization has is building. A lot of the credit goes to the staff, specifically the performance team which Davis told me is like no other around the league.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 26, 2018
Added: "I would know. I've been around..."
In chatting with Brian Lewis of the Post, he echoed those comments.
“Obviously I want to be back. I said that so hopefully it works out in the summer. But my main focus is just try to help this team and make the playoffs. Good things happen when you win and you make the playoffs — that’s just my mindset. And if we do that, everything works out.”
My perspective: Davis is everything the Nets could have asked for and then some. Not only is he one of the most efficient rebounders in the game, he’s a great mentor for Jarrett Allen in the sense that he leads by example. He works hard, sets good picks, rebounds the ball and runs the floor. Most importantly, he knows his role and he’s bought in.
That’s always a good thing.
RUSSELL NOT HAVING A GOOD SEASON... HAVING A GREAT SEASON
Kenny Atkinson says #Nets will throw different coverages and looks at Kemba Walker tonight, including some from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie and D'Angelo Russell.@NetsDaily @IAmCHAP24 @SDinwiddie_25 @Dloading #NBA#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/NK2RtJ0XK0— Bryan Fonseca (@BryanFonsecaNY) December 26, 2018
For a different perspective, head on over to At the Hive, our Hornets sister site on SB Nation
Next up: Charlotte, again, Friday at 7:00pm in their home.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 134, Charlotte Hornets 132 (2OT) - NBA.com
- Video: Brooklyn Nets 134, Charlotte Hornets 132 (2OT) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: CHA@BKN (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Dinwiddie, Harris on 2-OT win (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Nets win wild 2-OT game at home (Video) - Jim Spanarkel & Ian Eagle - YES Network
- Atkinson on victory over Hornets (Video) - YES Network
- Dudley on 2-OT win over Hornets (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson previews Hornets (Video) - YES Network
- Nets beat Hornets 134-132 in 2OTs on Harris’ late layup - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Nets win over Hornets so crazy even LeBron tuned in - AP
- Harris helps Nets outlast Hornets in 2 OTs - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets escape in double overtime after wild and crazy finish - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets keep creeping closer toward an Allen Crabbe return - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- How Nets and overlooked leader Ed Davis surprised each other - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets go double overtime to get past Hornets - Owen O’Brien - Newsday
- Allen Crabbe misses seventh straight game with sore right knee - Owen O’Brien - Newsday
- Nets have a shorter check list coming out holiday - Brian Heyman - Newsday
- Atkinson Finds Gold In Kurucs; Nets Think Outside The Box (And One) To Beat Hornets - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
- NETS 134, HORNETS 132: HARRIS NETS GAME-WINNER, DINWIDDIE SCORES 37 - Tom Dowd Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. HORNETS - Brooklyn Nets