The Brooklyn Nets entered Monday night with seven wins on the season. Six of those wins have come at home, where they found themselves on Monday taking on Kemba Walker and the seemingly playoff-bound Charlotte Hornets.
Brooklyn got some terrible news late in this one, with Jeremy Lin injuring his hamstring once again, this time leaving midway through the third quarter. But, despite having lost their starting point guard, Brooklyn GRIT’d their way to a 120-118 win over the Hornets on a Randy Foye buzzer beater.
Man, that was a fun one. Or as Kenny Atkinson said post-game, “very special.”
Brooklyn played well in the first half, on the backs of their starting guards. Jeremy Lin and Sean Kilpatrick combined to score 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 3-of-5 from three, in the first half. Meanwhile, Trevor Booker picked up 10 rebounds in the first half, which happened to be the most rebounds by any Net in a half this season. Joe Harris got the start at small forward, in place of Bojan Bogdanovic — just his second start of his career.
So, you know, things were going pretty well for the Nets.
Oh, right, except that they couldn’t get any stops. The Nets gave up 40 points in the first quarter, 63 points in the first half, on the back of Kemba Walker — who, by the way, should be an All-Star this year. They trailed by 14 points at one point, and it was looking as if their defense was going to do them in.
At this point, it was expected that the Nets would crumble in the third quarter — as has been their way this season. However, the Nets actually climbed their way back into it in the third, starting the quarter on a 12-5 run.
Bojan Bogdanovic was a nice spark off the bench for the Nets, with Joe Harris not doing much with his starting opportunity. Bogdanovic was aggressive, getting to the hoop, but also stretching the floor as he’s been known to do. He scored 13 points in the third quarter to help lead the Nets’ charge.
Meanwhile, while the Nets were starting to get something going in the third, Jeremy Lin tweaked his hamstring and was taken out of the game midway through the quarter.
Here’s the play:
Lin did not return. The Nets called it a “strained hamstring.” Isaiah Whitehead got the call to step in and take over the point guard position for the injured Lin. While he played tough, he wasn’t very efficient at all.
Whitehead picked up his 4th turnover after just 11 minutes of play. Just when the Nets need to make sure the wheels wouldn’t fall off in the third quarter, too, the Hornets saw a little light, with some help of sloppy play by the Nets, and started to show signs of pulling away.
After three, the Hornets held an 88-83 lead.
Brooklyn held tough early on in the fourth, as their bench was able to come up with stops and keep the game fluctuating back-and-forth from a one-to-two possession game.
The Nets trailed by two possessions, 98-92, when the starters returned at the 8-minute mark. Brook Lopez quickly went off and picked up two 3-point plays to tie the game.
Lopez had a strong fourth quarter, something we haven’t been able to write much about this season. The narrative has been more “he disappeared in the fourth” than “he led the team to victory in the fourth” this season. Lopez scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including every Net point in an 8-0 run.
Sean Kilpatrick chipped in down the stretch as well. These Nets, with the sellout crowd doing their best to lift them to victory, fought hard throughout — as they often do at home.
Kilpatrick played the stretch roll in the fourth, stepping out and hitting jumpers, while Lopez worked the paint. These Nets would not go without a fight.
The Hornets tied the game at 111-111 with just under two minutes to play in the fourth. Kilpatrick hit a three, followed by a Bogdanovic three, and the Nets had a 2-possession lead with less than a minute to play.
Nicolas Batum buried a three with pull within one, 117-116, with 30-plus seconds to play. Bogdanovic missed a three on the other end, to give the Hornets the ball with 9 seconds to go and a chance to win the game.
Then, this happened:
Game over, right?
And if that doesn’t satisfy you, here it is from every.single.angle.
Foye’s three game the Nets a 120-118 win over the Hornets.
Bogdanovic finished with 26 points, while Kilpatrick added 23 points, and tack on 21 points for Lopez. Foye, of course, had just three points. The most important points of the evening, I suppose you can say. A nice team effort.
After the game, Foye said Kenny Atkinson’s plan was to get the ball to Lopez.
“Actually [the play] was for Brook [Lopez]. I set the screen, but Kemba was kind of stuck in between switching over to Brook and guarding me. He’s a step late, I saw him running out and I just jabbed and went up,” said Foye, who made the second buzzer-beater of his career. “It just felt good as soon as it left my hand.”
The good news, obviously, was the nice win over the Hornets. The bad news, we don’t know the status of Lin. Nothing yet.