Caris LeVert nailed a floater in the lane with 0,3 seconds left Friday, lifting the Brooklyn Nets to their 3rd straight win, 112-110 over the Denver Nuggets.
The maturation of the Brooklyn Nets is happening right in front of us.
The Nets squandered a 14-point first-half lead, coughed up a six-point advantage in the fourth quarter, made just 7-of-14 free throws in the final 12 minutes … a found a way to win anyway, 112-110 over the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
Brooklyn (6-6) won its third straight game and its fourth in the last five. This is the latest in a season the Nets have been at or above .500 since they were 16-16 after a win on Jan. 2, 2015.
This was flat-out a game the Nets lose not all that long ago. But this group is learning how to take an opponent’s comeback punch, weather it and come back with a flurry of its own.
After the Nuggets (9-3) took a four-point lead on Paul Millsap‘s dunk with 1:03 remaining, the Nets battled back. Spencer Dinwiddie drew a foul and made both free throws with 56 seconds remaining to bring Brooklyn back to within 110-108.
After getting a stop at the other end, Caris LeVert penetrated, drew Nikola Jokic to him as a help defender and then slipped a nifty pass to Jarrett Allen on the baseline for a game-tying dunk with 29.4 seconds left.
The biggest stop of the night was coming. The Nuggets advanced the ball to the frontcourt after a timeout and immediately got the ball to Jokic, who started backing Allen down. Jared Dudley came over to double-team and Jokic got a little too happy with his spin move.
The traveling violation gave Brooklyn possession with 22.1 seconds to go. Advancing the ball after a timeout, the Nets got the rock to LeVert and he was able to beat the tough on-ball defense of Gary Harris, getting into the lane for a 12-foot floater and a 112-110 lead with 0.3 seconds to go.
Malik Beasley‘s turnaround 3 was off the mark and Brooklyn guaranteed no worse than a split of its four-game Western Conference road trip.
The game-winner provided some vindication for LeVert, who finished with 17 points but was just 4-for-9 at the foul line.
It was a night where the Nets were hot early and struggled to put the ball in the hole late. Brooklyn scored its first 18 points on 3-pointers and were 7-for-13 from deep at the end of one quarter.
The Nets were 5-for-20 from beyond the remainder of the game, shooting 40.9 percent overall (36-for-88) and 12-for-33 (36.4 percent) from 3. But they again took care of the ball, committing only eight turnovers.
D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points for the Nets, Jarrett Allen added 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocks and Dinwiddie finished with 12 points and six assists.
Denver shot 46 percent on the night (40-for-87), but was just 5-for-18 from 3-point range (27.8 percent). Jokic had been implored to look for his shot more after scoring just 23 points and taking only 18 shots over his last four games.
And so Jokic got his, but the Brooklyn defense made sure nobody else got theirs. Jokic finished with 37 points, 21 rebounds and two blocks, but had only three assists. Jokic was 14-for-22 from the floor; the rest of the Nuggets were 26-for-65 (40 percent).
Jokic also had six of Denver’s 13 turnovers on the night. Millsap added 11 points and 11 rebounds and Jamal Murray finished with 16 points and five assists.
Brooklyn will complete the back-to-back Saturday night in Oakland, Calif., where they take on the Golden State Warriors for an 8:30 p.m. Eastern tip.
Here are five takeaways from a landmark win for a rapidly developing team.