Facing a daunting set of back-to-back games at the opposite ends of the country, the Nets needed more time to avoid a disastrous finish in Sunday’s first leg in Brooklyn.
After dropping four of their previous five games – and five straight at home – in their first true collapse of the season, the Nets took a 10-point lead in the final four minutes of regulation before releasing a 121-119 overtime win. On the Spurs in the center of Barclays.
The game was still tied at 119 until the final Brooklyn takeover, when two-team Kevin Durant (28 points) found rookie Cam Thomas for a tiebreaking 10-foot floater with 1.7 seconds to go.
James Harden scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and registered 12 OT assists, and Nick Claxton added 16 points with 14 rebounds to the Nets (25-13) before Monday’s make-up game in Portland. -19 postponement.
Before the game, Steve Nash said he was “too hesitant to make excuses” and urged his sliding team to “attack” the uniqueness of these two games.
“I can’t recall all the back-to-backs I’ve ever played, but I don’t remember any six-hour flights and all that stuff between the back-to-back and the three-hour time zone. So it’s different, but we have to take it as an opportunity, under an adversity.” There is a chance to succeed, “Nash said.” At this moment, when we are trying to find ourselves again, to be tough in the past, so let’s accept it.
“Let’s see if we can win both or at least play well. Maybe it will spark us. ”
Lonnie Walker IV scored 25, DeJounte Murray added 19 and Brian Forbes added 18 for the Spurs (15-24).
San Antonio led by seven points in the second quarter, but Durant struck out seven of nine field-goal attempts for 18 points – Harden dished out nine assists – pushing the Nets to a 60-51 lead in the interim.
He expanded his cushion to 14 in the third with Claxton flushing a couple dunks and rookie Kessler Edwards hitting two 3-pointers. But San Antonio closed the quarter with an 18-7 margin and trimmed the score to 91-89, entering the fourth period, with Forbes’ four-point game and Jack Landale’s eight points in the closing minutes.
The Spurs tied the score in the first possession of the fourth quarter, but Harden scored a couple of 3-pointers and scored eight straight points for the Nets for a 99-93 advantage.
Rookie big man Day’Ron Sharp gave up five straight points – including a converted three-point game – to help push the lead to 10 with four minutes remaining in the 16-6 Brooklyn race.
However, the Nets allowed the next 10 points of the tie, with Walker and Josh Primo closing in on the 113-all game in 40.9 seconds.
After an aggressive foul by Spurs big man Jacob Poeltl, Durant scored 3 straight in the closing seconds to send the match into overtime.