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Jack jumper snaps Nets home drought

Late Comeback Gives Brooklyn First Win at Barclays Since 2014

February 3, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez celebrate the Nets’ first home win since December on Monday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center. Associated Press photo
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The Brooklyn Nets bid a fitting farewell to a miserable January Monday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center, thanks to the return of their $98 million point guard and a game-winning shot by the man who has so ably replaced him at the position.

Deron Williams scored 15 points after missing the previous 11 games with a rib injury and Jarrett Jack capped a game-ending 12-2 run on a go-ahead jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining as Brooklyn snapped a seven-game home losing streak with a rousing 102-100 triumph over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

“I was happy to be out there, happy to get a win,” said Williams, who also grabbed three rebounds and handed out three assists in 29 minutes off the bench during his first game action since Jan. 7 in Boston.

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“We didn’t get a win all of January at home.”

They certainly didn’t.

Nor did it appear they’d get one to begin February after falling behind 98-90 with just over 70 seconds to play.

But a pair of big 3-pointers by Williams and Johnson, respectively, coupled with Alan Anderson’s four-point play, paved the way for Jack’s heroics.

The veteran point man answered Chris Paul’s game-tying driving layup with just under nine seconds left by shaking a defender and popping in a mid-range jumper that gave the 16,037 fans at Barclays who had braved the elements something to shout about.

“It was crazy,” admitted Jack, who had misfired on eight of his first 10 shots before draining the game-winner. “I just owe the credit to my coaches and teammates who had the confidence to put me in that situation, especially when I wasn’t having the greatest shooting night.”

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 points and Joe Johnson had 22 for Brooklyn (19-28), which remained 1 ½ games behind Charlotte (21-27) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets, who had suffered a 39-point loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles two weeks ago during a brutal West Coast swing, got a measure of revenge for the embarrassing defeat.

“You know, we had to make it a fight because we didn’t want them to think that was us in L.A.,” noted Anderson, who finished with nine points. “So we made it a fight and come out with a win.”

Paul had 20 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who lamented letting the Nets back in the game after putting them on the verge of a season sweep.

“Not trying to take any credit away from what they did and the shots they made,” Paul said. “But we gave the game away.”

Brooklyn head coach Lionel Hollins, who openly questioned his team’s intestinal fortitude during the January swoon, liked what he saw from his unit during its biggest win of 2015.

“I thank God for the fact that they did win because I am proud of them,” Hollins gushed. “The way we started playing, and to get rewarded is always important in these situations. Our spirit has come back, and we are scrapping, scratching and clawing.”

The Nets will try to make it two wins in a row Wednesday night in Toronto as they take on the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors.

Williams, who appears full healed from the fractured rib cartilage that forced him to the bench for nearly a month, admitted that it was difficult watching his teammates lose without him on the floor.

“It’s tough when your team is struggling and you can’t be out there with them,” he said. “You know, watching from the sideline, they’ve been battling. I thought we played well the last few games before this game, and it’s kind of just a carryover.”

Williams and the Nets are doubtlessly hoping they can continue that carryover effect north of the border Wednesday night and far beyond as they continue to chase their third playoff appearance in as many seasons since arriving in our fair borough.

Nothing But Net: The Nets have won seven in a row against the Clippers at home, their longest active home winning streak against any opponent. … F Kevin Garnett grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds on Monday, moving him past Nate Thurmond for eighth place on the all-time list with 14,467 career caroms. … Anderson’s four-point play with 15.3 seconds remaining was the Nets’ first since Williams converted one against Philadelphia last April 5. … Despite being nine games below .500 this season, the Nets are actually an NBA-best 6-1 in contests decided by three points or fewer. “I always prefer close games as a player because you can focus better and because you are trying to do your job,” said Hollins. “Whereas when the game is a little bit loose, you can lose focus.”

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