At first, it didn’t seem like the Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday was worth watching. Aside from James Johnson and LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn’s energy was nonexistent in the first half.
Thankfully, things got more entertaining in the second half thanks to the trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden … and Nic Claxton.
Claxton is easing his way back into the rotation after missing 17 games with a non-COVID illness. The 22-year-old started the first three games for the Nets and then came off the bench in the fourth on Oct. 25, which was the last time he played for Brooklyn before last Friday’s win over Minnesota.
He’s still working on his conditioning, but he’s getting to enjoy himself while doing it. In the third quarter of Tuesday’s game, Luka Doncic was dribbling the ball down the court for the Mavericks and tried to pass the ball between Claxton’s legs, but the attempted was wildly unsuccessful after it hit Claxton’s foot.
The referees blew their whistles for the kick ball violation, and that’s when the two appeared to share a few words before Doncic shoved Claxton. Because of that, Doncic received his fifth technical foul of the season.
Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton prompted a foul call against Doncic.
Let’s be real … it was a soft technical foul, but you can’t shove someone in plain sight and expect to get away with it. After Doncic was whistled for the call, he put his hands up in disbelief. Claxton upped the dramatics with his facial expression in a funny situation where he seemed to have baited the Mavericks star into a tech.
Like Claxton said after the game, those types of altercations keep him going, which is refreshing to hear because at times this Nets team does need a bit more fire and intensity.
At that point in the third quarter, Dallas was up by nine points after being ahead by as many as 17 during the second half. Perhaps Doncic getting a technical was foreshadowing what was to come for the Mavericks. Durant and Harden woke up in the fourth quarter and steered Brooklyn to a 102-99 win.
Claxton may have provided the turning point and then had some funny comments after the situation once the Nets sealed the deal. We call that a win-win.