Nets Beat Clippers In OT, Win 4th Straight
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Once the Nets grounded Blake Griffin and the Clippers’ high-flying act, they pulled off their biggest comeback in two years.
Brook Lopez and Jordan Farmar each scored 24 points, combining for all eight of New Jersey’s in overtime, and the Nets rallied to beat Los Angeles 102-98 Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Kris Humphries had 19 points, a career-high 20 rebounds and made all eight shots while playing All-Star Blake Griffin to at least a draw as the Nets erased a 20-point deficit for their longest winning streak since also taking four in a row from Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009.
Griffin and the Clippers had the Nets’ second home sellout of the season cheering their dunks and booing the home team while dominating the first half, before New Jersey toughened up, then toughed it out.
“We stayed with it,” Humphries said. “It was tough, a lot of things didn’t go our way first half, I think we weren’t aggressive enough to start the game. They had too many easy transition dunks and all that. It’s easy to play basketball when you’ve just got to run down the court and dunk the ball.
“We bounced back from that. Coach got after us at halftime and we responded.”
Chris Kaman had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Griffin added 23 points and nine boards, but he missed the potential go-ahead free throw with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Randy Foye scored 19 points in his hometown, but the Clippers’ four-game winning streak was snapped.
Farmar again started in place of All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who missed his second straight game after his wife gave birth to their fourth child in Dallas this week. He helped the Nets pull off their biggest comeback to win since also rallying from 20 down to beat Atlanta on Jan. 2, 2009.
“This is what you dream of, to play in the NBA … be the one making the plays, taking big shots,” Farmar said. “I just tried to step up for my teammates. Deron wasn’t here, had a beautiful addition to his family, so I got a chance to play and it was good for me, good for us.”
Playing in front of an announced 18,711 that included part-owner Jay-Z sitting courtside, the Nets denied the Clippers their first five-game winning streak since Nov. 2-12, 2007.
Coming off a surprising victory at Boston, the Clippers were hurt by Mo Williams’ 3 of 17 shooting from the field and their 60 percent showing from the foul line.
“It’s just one of those games that leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Williams said. “Obviously I’m disappointed in my performance personally. As a team we didn’t do the things we did the first half for whatever reason. It starts with me, also. I take a lot of blame in it. Just not being able to stop the bleeding in the second half and make plays for my teammates.”
Farmar drove for a layup and a 92-91 lead with 16 seconds remaining in regulation before Griffin spun past Humphries for a bucket in the lane with 12 seconds to go. The Nets went to Lopez, who used a couple of nifty moves in the lane to score from 3 feet with 3.8 seconds left for a 94-93 edge. Griffin then drove past Lopez, going down hard after the Nets’ center fouled him at the rim.
Griffin made the first, but the second rattled out with 1.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Lopez scored inside for the first four points, and Humphries drew offensive fouls from Griffin twice to help the Nets stay ahead. A 3-pointer by Farmar put the Nets up five with 2:28 to play, and the Clippers missed a chance to tie in the final half-minute when Williams was off on a 3-pointer before Farmar added a final free throw to finish it.
“In the second half we just kind of let up,” Griffin said. “They applied the pressure and we didn’t do too well.”
The Nets’ other home sellout was against the Knicks, a game that felt like a road contest for New Jersey with New Yorkers crossing the river to fill the arena.
“We feel tonight we’ll have more of the crowd on our side and that’s a good thing,” Nets coach Avery Johnson.
Actually, the Nets were booed in the first half, when their sloppy play fueled the Clippers’ transition game. But the fans were solidly on the Nets’ side in the tense closing minutes.
The Clippers’ first four field goals were dunks, with Griffin adding another one to his highlight reel by reaching to catch a lob pass from Williams on the break with his left hand and slamming it down. The Nets began hearing boos midway through the second after a layup by Foye made it 41-21. The Clippers led 51-37 at the break on the strength of 34 points in the paint.
New Jersey quickly wiped that away. Humphries had the Nets’ last six points of the third period, including a jumper that gave them a 68-67 advantage going to the fourth.
Notes: A number of NBA mascots were at the game to celebrate Nets mascot Sly the Fox’s birthday. The Orlando Magic’s, Stuff, a magic dragon, was doing an act in the stands where he pulled his shirt over a fan’s head, and the fan and another started hitting the mascot, who was dragged away to safety while one of the fans was taken away by security. … Foye attended Newark’s East Side High School and was the New Jersey player of the year in 2002.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)