After getting obliterated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Brooklyn Nets faced another tough test against the Charlotte Hornets. Brooklyn managed to get their eighth win in thrilling fashion.
Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson took a unique approach to Monday’s game, as Joe Harris got his first start with the Nets, in place of Bojan Bogdanovic. Brooklyn’s starting lineup included three guards, Harris, Jeremy Lin, and Sean Kilpatrick.
Brooklyn struggled defensively in the first quarter. Nic Batum led Charlotte with 10 first-quarter points, and Kemba Walker added nine. Charlotte also hit 90 percent (9-of-10) from the free throw line as the Hornets scored 40 points in the first quarter. The Nets found themselves down nine, 40-31, at the end of the first quarter.
The Nets made a better effort to move the ball in the second quarter, which resulted in a few flashy plays, but it also led to turnovers. Brooklyn’s problems weren’t limited to turnovers, though. Brooklyn’s defense was no match for Charlotte’s offense, as the Nets struggled to get stops. With the defense struggling, the Nets found themselves in a familiar position: trailing for most of the first half. The Nets upped the pace offensively, as they usually do, in an effort to cut into Charlotte’s lead.
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Jeremy Lin led Brooklyn’s offensive attack as the Nets tried to keep pace with the Hornets. Lin barely missed a close-range floater at the buzzer, but he still led the Nets with 15 points in the first half. Sean Kilpatrick added 10 points, while Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 13. Charlotte held a 63-54 lead at half time.
The Nets got a scare in the third quarter, as Jeremy Lin appeared to roll his ankle. Lin, who was fouled while driving to the rim, would make both of his free throws and stay in the game. Brooklyn then went on a 12-0 run to cut Charlotte’s lead to two. However, Lin then called a timeout and removed himself from the game. The Nets announced in the third quarter that Lin would not return, due to a strained left hamstring. Lin, of course, has dealt with hamstring issues this already this season.
Despite the injury to Lin, the Nets still played well in the third quarter, and positioned themselves well to make a comeback in the fourth.
With 9:30 left in the game, the Nets trailed by just four, 94-90. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made two free throws to make it a two point game, as the Nets’ comeback attempt was on.
With Jeremy Lin out, Brook Lopez stepped up. Lopez, working in the post, converted and-one’s on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 98. He then scored again, to give Brooklyn a 100-98 lead.
The final five minutes of the game were filled with back-and-forth scoring and drama. The Nets nailed two three pointers when they absolutely needed them. First, Kilpatrick hit a three, then Bogdanovic followed with a three of his own with just over a minute left in the game. Brooklyn led by four, 117-113, with 1:06 remaining.
A three from Batum made it a one point game, 117-116. Charlotte then got a stop on the ensuing possession, and possessed the ball with 8.6 seconds remaining, down by just one. Kemba Walker drove to the bucket and had his shot rejected, but Cody Zeller was there for the follow up. Charlotte took a 118-117 lead with two seconds remaining. Brooklyn inbounded the ball to Randy Foye, who hit the game-winning jumper over Kemba Walker, to give the Nets a 120-118 victory.
Brooklyn won in tremendous fashion to get their eighth victory this season. With the win, Brooklyn moves to 8-22 on the season. Next, the Nets will take on the Bulls on Wednesday.