Jarrett Jack entered Monday's matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers coming off a career-high 35-point performance in Friday's loss to the Toronto Raptors. He wasn't nearly as productive at Barclays Center on Monday, but the Brooklyn Nets' veteran point guard found the range on his jumper in the nick of time:
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With just 8.6 seconds remaining and the score knotted at 100, the 10-year vet took an inbounds pass from returning Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams and curled to the top of the key. Jack took a high screen from center Brook Lopez that prompted Clippers defender Chris Paul to switch, leaving Los Angeles big man DeAndre Jordan matched up one-on-one with Jack high above the 3-point arc. Jack got Jordan off-balance with a left-to-right crossover, then stutter-stepped his way to the right elbow before raising up and firing a midrange jumper over Jordan's outstretched arms. Splash. 102-100 Nets, timeout Clippers.
All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson seemed to dig his former teammate Golden State Warriors teammate's big-spot shakedown:
J jack had him on skates for the win!
— klay thompson (@KlayThompson) February 3, 2015
Doc Rivers' club had a chance to respond on the other end, but what they came up with looked more like a question than an answer:
I'm not entirely sure what the plan was there — whether Spencer Hawes was supposed to try to hit CP3 in the corner, whether the Matt Barnes basket cut was the primary option, or something else entirely. Whatever the case was, it seemed like an awful lot to ask in 1.3 seconds.
As it turned out, L.A. didn't even get a field-goal attempt off, sealing a two-point loss that gave the Clippers just their second loss in nine games, dropping them to 33-16, six games behind the Pacific Division- and Western Conference-leading Warriors.
It's a pretty brutal loss for the Clippers, considering they led by nine with 1:35 second remaining, only to see Brooklyn storm back and close the game on a 15-4 run thanks to timely long-range shooting from several sources. Lionel Hollins got big late triples from Williams (who finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes in his first action back after missing 11 games with a rib cartilage fracture), Joe Johnson (22 points on 8-for-13 shooting and 4-for-6 from 3-point land, including a deep contested 3 with 48 seconds left after missing a pair of free throws) and, most notably, journeyman swingman Alan Anderson, who scored seven points in the final 95 seconds, including this improbable go-ahead four-point play with 15 ticks left:
After Anderson drained his and-one to put the Nets up 100-98, Paul came right back and drove for a layup that tied the game back up at 100, setting the stage for Jack's closing-seconds heroics. He hadn't had much luck with his start-and-stop midrange game earlier in the night, missing eight of his 10 shots to that point, but he made it work when it counted.
"Man, to be honest, I have to give all the credit to my coach and my teammates," Jack said during a post-game interview with YES Network's Sarah Kustok. "To have the confidence in me to put the ball in my hands in that particular moment, especially when I wasn't having the best shooting night tonight ... you know, I just felt it was necessary that I come up big for my team."
And to do so on a pretty tough look, too — check out just how close Jordan was on his contest:
This is how difficult Jarrett Jack's game winner was: pic.twitter.com/eAwYSk7cHB
— Reed Wallach (@ReedWallach) February 3, 2015
Despite Jordan's best efforts, Jack found paydirt. He finished with six points, seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and just two turnovers in a team-high 40 minutes in the win, which snapped a four-game overall losing streak and a seven-game skid at Barclays. This was the Nets' first home win in 2015, which seemed to please CEO Brett Yormark greatly:
Best win of year. Enjoy it nets fans . Thank you for all your support.
— Brett Yormark (@brettyormark) February 3, 2015
Lopez scored a team-high 24 points on 12-for-20 shooting to go with seven rebounds in 37 minutes off the bench for Brooklyn, who improved to 19-28 on the season but remain a game and a half back of the Charlotte Hornets, who were also victorious on Monday, for the No. 8 seed in the East.
For the Clippers, though, it's a dire night, one filled with woulda-coulda-shouldas, headlined by the agony and ecstasy of Jordan.
The 6-foot-11 center soared for slams and bullied Brooklyn on the boards to the tune of 22 points and 20 rebounds — the first 20-20 game of his seven-year career — but he also missed 10 free throws, including his first eight, finishing just 2-for-12 from the charity stripe on the evening. The Clippers missed 17 free throws as a team (8-for-25 total) and five in the fourth quarter in a game they lost by two. When you leave that many points on the table, you leave the door open for your opposition; on Monday night, Jack and the Nets had just enough left in the tank at the end to walk through it and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
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