Nets 86, Clippers 76

Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez continued his torrid comeback with 26 points and Joe Johnson added 19, leading the Brooklyn Nets to an 86-76 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night at the Barclays Center.
The Nets outscored the Clippers, 11-0, in a span of 3:14 in the fourth quarter to take command of the game, with Lopez hitting two clutch shots and Johnson calmly canning a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:42 left.
Lopez, who played in only five games last season because of a broken right foot and then a sprained right ankle, is averaging nearly 19 points a game this season to lead Brooklyn (7-4) in scoring. The Nets snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 5-1 at their new $1 billion home.
The Clippers (8-4) got 14 points each from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but neither All-Star did much anything after intermission, when they held a seven-point lead. Neither Paul nor Griffin scored a single point in the fourth quarter. Paul fouled out with less than a minute to play. Griffin had only two points in the second half.
The Clippers were also plagued by 20 turnovers in scoring the least amount of points in a single game this season. The Clippers entered the game as the NBA's third-best scoring team, averaging 102.4 points per game.
DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers and Jamal Crawford scored 13 points off the bench. Paul had nine assists.
Deron Williams had 11 points and eight assists for the Nets, but seemed to be bothered most of the night with some sort of right hand injury.
Lopez and Johnson hit consecutive shots to give the Nets a 74-69 lead with 6:08 left, Brooklyn's largest lead since midway through the second quarter.
However, the Clippers responded by scoring five consecutive points, a conventional 3-pointer from DeAndre Jordan and a floating jumper from Jamal Crawford, tying the game once again at 74-74 with 4:41 left.
Lopez then gave the Nets the lead for good with two powerful moves to the basket, giving the Nets a 79-74 lead with 3:03 remaining.
The two teams both struggled mightily to start the fourth quarter, as each team missed their first five shots in the period before Keith Bogans nailed a wide-open 3-pointer from the right wing, giving the Nets a 66-63 lead with 9:31 remaining.
The Nets worked hard to eliminate the Clippers' seven-point advantage Los Angeles held at the half.
Lopez scored his team's first four points of the second half, then made a strong move down low to tie the game at 53-53 with 6:03 remaining in the third period.
The two teams traded the lead twice and the game was tied three times in a closely-contested first quarter.
Lopez scored two baskets on slam dunks in the first two minutes, giving the Nets an early 6-2 lead.
The Clippers then went on an 11-2 run to take 13-8 lead, with five players scoring during that stretch. Jordan had a monstrous slam and Griffin scored a conventional 3-point play to give the Clippers the early lead.
Willie Green hit a 3-pointer off the glass from the left corner to push the Los Angeles lead to 16-10 with 5:48 remaining.
Lopez continued his excellent play with a jump hook and a slam, enabling Brooklyn to regain the lead at 23-21 with 1:49 left.
The first quarter ended with the teams deadlocked at 25.
Johnson hit two consecutive tough shots to give the Nets their biggest lead in the half at 36-31, but the Clippers stormed back, outscoring the Nets 16-4 over the last 4:15. The Clippers scored the last eight points to take a 47-40 lead into intermission.
Paul and Griffin had seven points each during that stretch. Griffin had a nifty spin move in the lane with 1:13 remaining, then Ryan Hollins and Paul each hit two free throws in the final minute to give Los Angeles its biggest lead at the break.
Griffin had 12 points to pace the Clippers, while Lopez and Johnson had 10 points each to lead the Nets.
NOTES: Nets small forward Gerald Wallace returned to action, after sitting out the loss to Golden State to end the team's three-game Western swing. Wallace returned to action to face both Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle he suffered in the closing minutes of the season opener against Toronto. Wallace missed the Golden State game with what the Nets PR team released simply as "rest." ... For some reason, the Nets wore their black road uniforms at home last night, while the Clippers wore white. ... Rapper Jay-Z and wife Beyonce were spotted, sitting right of the Nets' bench. Jay-Z owns a part of the Nets' franchise. ... Actor/comedian Ray Romano, a New York native, was also in attendance with his family. ... Actor Billy Crystal was also at the game, but Crystal, also a native New Yorker, has been a long-time Clippers fan. ... Before the opening tip, Nets reserve forward Jerry Stackhouse took the public address microphone and offered Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.

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