Late-game defensive work against Kawhi Leonard helped Brooklyn Nets turn the tide and end an 8-game losing streak with an OT win over the Toronto Raptors.
But what seemed like an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors turned into an impressive win against the top team in the NBA. As the final buzzer approached, Barclays Center seemed in slow motion; as fans had to prepare for another heartbreaking buzzer-beater loss at home.
The Nets found themselves in another game tighter than James Harden‘s skinny jeans, extending into overtime. D’Angelo Russell accounted for six points along with Jarrett Allen‘s final two, giving Brooklyn the 106-105 lead.
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Shortly after, Russell lost the ball and practically put it on a tee for Leonard to drive right down the fairway in a game winner. In the final seconds, a combination of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson‘s defense and a little bit of luck caused the ball to rim out, giving the Nets a win.
With that being said, the Nets cannot keep putting themselves in these late-game situations where opposing teams’ superstars have game-winning shots in the final seconds.
NBA superstars earn their reputations by being counted on to hit game-winners and the Nets must keep the ball out of their hands in clutch time.
Looking at the Nets three crushing losses in the last three weeks, the Nets finally got it done, coming out of the Raptors matchup with a win. The question Nets fans are asking now is, what was the switch flipped that gave the Nets the win Friday night?
In the end, it all comes down to defense. In clutch time, the Nets have to either keep the ball out of the hands of opposing teams’ superstars or lock them down in the final seconds.
When many credit Russell’s scoring as the winning factor, it was the Nets defense that gave them the win. Hollis-Jefferson locked down Leonard when it mattered and that is the reason the Nets snapped the losing streak.
The Nets clearly do not have a player on Leonard’s level and that is the reason they must focus on defense instead of offense in clutch time.
Playing solid team defense and stopping other teams superstars in the final seconds are what will get the Nets wins in overtime; because the Nets do not have their own superstar that can be counted on offensively day in and day out.