Nets win marathon vs. Suns in OT

Jerry Brown, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd said before Friday's game that he wanted to avoid a track meet with the younger and quicker Phoenix Suns. But in the end, a marathon suited his team just fine.
Guard Joe Johnson put up a teardrop 5-footer over the outstretched hands of Phoenix forward Channing Frye and through the hoop as time expired in overtime as the Nets overcame the loss of guard Deron Williams and pulled out a wild 100-98 overtime win over the Suns on Friday night.
The Nets led 98-94 with 1:48 left in overtime, but the Suns rallied for the final time to tie the score at 100 on forward PJ Tucker's alley-oop dunk from guard Eric Bledsoe with 56.2 seconds left. Lopez turned the ball over and the Suns had a chance to win it, but Frye missed a 3-pointer with six seconds left.
Johnson ran down a tipped rebound from forward Kevin Garnett, raced down the floor and hit the winning shot over Frye. The ball slipped through the net just after time expired.
"Once KG tipped it out to me, I looked up I think there was four or five seconds left and I didn't have to take a rushed shot," said Johnson, who was six for 19 from the field in the game but also hit the shot that sent the game to overtime. "I had to get as close as I could. Obviously I couldn't make a shot to save my life tonight but I figured my chance were better if I could get to the paint so that's what I tried to do."
Center Brook Lopez had 25 of his 27 points in the second half and overtime for the Nets, hitting two jumpers 48 seconds apart to give Brooklyn their first lead of overtime. Guard Shaun Livingston, who took over for the injured Williams, had 18 points and six assists. Johnson finished with 13 points, but the last two were the biggest.
"It was a hell of a shot man," said Livingston, who played 37 minutes. "We didn't draw that play up. He just went down length of the court and hit a great shot."
Guard Goran Dragic led the Suns with 19 points and Tucker added 17 points, with 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. But the Suns, who came back several times in the game, had chances to win the game in regulation and overtime but couldn't get the basket they needed.
It was the second straight heartbreaking loss for the Suns, who lost 90-89 in Portland on Thursday night when they had three shots at the game-winning basket in the final five seconds.
"You know, they're young," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said of his team. "We don't want to go through too many of these, but we talked about when things get tough like that you've got to buckle down. That's when other teams smell blood.
"Channing had a good look at (the overtime 3-pointer) but didn't make it. Then we had the rebound P.J. and (forward) Marcus (Morris) both go for it and I think P.J. said. Marcus looked like he was in front of him a little bit so he let it go. Somehow it popped up, and they take off with it."
The Suns had a 14-point lead in the second quarter but went more than 11 minutes of the second and third quarters without a field goal as the Nets went on a 30-4 run and turned a 46-34 deficit into a 62-50 lead. The Nets scored 23 straight points during the run, including the first 16 of the third quarter.
"That third-quarter run made our confidence fall a little bit but in the end they are a great team. They have five all-stars," said Dragic, who had 13 of his 19 points and four of his 10 assists in the first quarter. "They are more experienced than us and they made the tough shots and we didn't. That's part of the sport.
"We lost two in a row in the last five seconds but we know we are playing well against those good teams."
Down 65-52 in the third quarter, the Suns used a rush of 3-pointers to get back in the game -- hitting three in the final four minutes of the third quarter and two more by forward Channing Frye and Tucker to take a 78-76 lead with 9:15 left in regulation.
The teams see-sawed back and forth until Tucker's 3-pointer in the deep corner with 39.1 seconds left gave the Suns a 92-90 lead. But Johnson answered with a 10-foot floater with 29.9 seconds left and all the Suns could muster on their final possession in regulation was an off-balance baseline shot by Dragic that missed and sent the game to overtime.
The Suns had 14 fastbreak points in the first quarter but nine more the rest of the way.
"Once we slowed them down they had to work for their shots." Livingston. "They hit some big ones, but when they look at the film they will know they worked for those points."
NOTES: This was a stark of contrast of teams in different stages. The Nets roster has 117 years of NBA experience and the rebuilding Suns have 41 -- and nine of them belong to C Emeka Okafor, who is unlikely to ever play for Phoenix. Nets C Kevin Garnett, who has played just under 48,000 minutes in his career, logged nearly 10,000 more minutes than the entire Phoenix roster (38,403). ... Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said he was worried that Goran Dragic had suffered a concussion in his face-to-face collision with Portland's Mo Williams. This head shot, Dragic's third of the season, left a cut that required 14 stitches to close. "The guys were going to put a football helmet in his locker," Hornacek said. ... Nets coach Jason Kidd played 308 games as a Sun (199-2001) and remains the franchise leaders with 25 double-doubles. The Suns came into the game with a 5-3 record and their three losses came to teams (Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Portland) with a combined record of 19-6. Kidd on the new-look Suns under Hornacek: "They play hard, like to push the pressure, they are unselfish ... it's kind of like the player he was."

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