Who wants a clutch scorer when you could have a clutch protection?
For the second recreation in a row, the Nets’ fourth-quarter offense sputtered, and for the second recreation in a row, it was Brooklyn’s protection that secured the victory.
The Nets held onto a 122-120 victory over Western Conference No. 1-seeded Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon. After shedding 4 straight video games popping out of NBA All-Star Weekend, Brooklyn has received 5 of its final six video games.
The Nets entered Sunday with the No. 1 protection in all of basketball throughout their successful stretch — and it took grit on that finish of the ground to decelerate the MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic on the street in Denver.
And it was a recreation that grew to become a one-possession affair because the clock dwindled late within the fourth quarter.
In Brooklyn, crunch time is the brand new scary hours.
Those minutes — outlined as the ultimate 5 minutes of a recreation with a five-point margin — had been as soon as a secure haven for a workforce that beforehand employed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two of the higher clutch performers in NBA historical past.
That’s been the fixed ever for the reason that Nets pulled the set off on the 2 offers that despatched Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Durant to Phoenix Suns.
How will this workforce fare within the clutch with out stars to lean on down the stretch?
After forcing the ball out of Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards’ arms on the ultimate possession of Friday’s additional time victory in Minnesota, the Nets compelled Jokic right into a contested three on the buzzer to seal a two-point victory in Denver.
Jokic completed with 35 factors, 20 rebound and 11 assists, however all 5 Nets began scored in double figures — led by Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the cost with 15 factors and a career-high 16 assists.
And now, the Nets get to take a well-earned victory lap. Their possibilities at retaining playoff standing took a shot when the Durant and Irving offers finalized in early February.
Yet they proceed to roll within the second half of the season: they got here again from down 28 to defeat the Celtics in Boston, and have received 5 of their final six, with an opportunity to go 4-1 on their five-game street journey.
Next up: The Nets journey to Oklahoma City to tackle All-Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder.