The star-studded Nets-Clippers contest came down to the wire but playing and winning in the 'clutch' is nothing new for the Brooklyn franchise. Their 18 'clutch' games (game withing five points under five minutes remaining), so far this season, are tied for the second-most in the league.
In this one, they sealed the game with plays on both ends in the final seconds.
🚨 @DeAndre GO-AHEAD TIP IN 🚨 pic.twitter.com/7bdbprH82Q- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 22, 2021
Kawhi gets called for the offensive foul. Nets win. pic.twitter.com/droTZRrtGW- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 22, 2021
The 112-108 win helps the Nets improve to 20-12, just a 0.5 game out of the East's top seed, and extend their win streak to six by going 5-0 on their West Coast road trip, the longest undefeated road trip in franchise history.
The Brooklyn Nets are the first Eastern Conference team to win 5 straight games on a Western Conference road trip since the Chicago Bulls in Jan. 2010. @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/Ufvx9ESNv8- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) February 22, 2021
Five Nets players scored in double figures as they defeated the full-strength Clippers while missing Kevin Durant themselves.
Irving, Harden put on a show
Including this one, Durant has missed the last four games but the Nets have been doing fine courtesy of the backcourt of James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
The duo combined for 65 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists on 25-of-51 shooting from the field while turning it over just three times (all Harden). Harden recorded his 77th career 35-point double-double (37 points, 11 rebounds), the second-most among active players and one less than LeBron James' 78, while Irving was dropping flashy dimes late.
Kyrie dropping DIMES late in the 4th on ESPN. 👀 pic.twitter.com/aF2DHJY0j9- NBA (@NBA) February 22, 2021
With the win, the Nets sweep the season series against the Clippers and the Harden-Irving combo has been deadly in these games. Across both games, Harden and Irving have scored or assisted for more points in the clutch (23) than the Clippers (12).
In this one, they scored or assisted on 20 of the team's final 23 points, helping the team hold on for the win as the Clippers made a rally in the fourth.
PG sparks 4th Q run but sits out late
After a 15-point game against the Utah Jazz, George had a strong bounce-back showing tonight. He finished with a team-high 34 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter when the hosts outscored the visitors 29-23.
He alone contributed for 16 of the team's 29 fourth-quarter points including a couple of impressive bounce-pass assists.
#ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/Ju0ArF97Va- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 22, 2021
He helped the team cut the Nets' fourth-quarter lead of 15, their largest of the game, to as few as four points but a minutes restriction forced him to watch the final 2:50 from the bench.
George was one of only three players to score in double figures. Kawhi Leonard was the other big contributor with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists.
Nets' limitless potential
After a bumpy start early on, the Nets' roster and play are slowly but surely taking shape, and these results are proof. Of their six straight wins, Durant - arguably the best player of their three superstars - has only played in one.
The trio of DeAndre Jordan, Bruce Bowen and Joe Harris combined for 39 points tonight, but more importantly, as role players on a shortened roster, they seem to be coming to terms with their roles and stepping up. Jordan recorded a season-high four blocks, Bowen, a 6'4" guard, had eight rebounds and four steals while Harris played his role of a long-range threat.
The tweet below perfectly illustrates first, how good Brooklyn is against the teams that matter, and then the team's potential with their three stars, having only seven games together since acquiring Harden (mid-Jan.)
The Nets are 6-1 vs the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Sixers this season.- StatMuse (@statmuse) February 22, 2021
12-2 vs the top 14 teams.
KD/Harden/Kyrie have only played 7 games together.
Scary hours. pic.twitter.com/v5EH7a72jg
The Nets head back home to face the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday (E.T.) while the Clippers will play the last of their six-game homestand against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday (E.T.).
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