Kilpatrick’s monster finish ends Nets’ skid
Scores Career-High 38 Points in Wild Double OT Win Over Clippers
For all intents and purposes, this one looked eerily similar to the loss that started the Brooklyn Nets’ season-high seven-game losing streak.
Until Sean Kilpatrick shook off three brutal quarters, that is.
General manager Sean Marks’ D-League pickup from a season ago scored 31 of his 38 points over the final 22 minutes as Brooklyn exacted a measure of revenge and snapped its seemingly interminable slide with an inspiring 127-122 double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in front of 15,681 fans at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
With billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov watching from his suite, the Nets slumbered through the first three periods, trailing by as many as 15 points in the final quarter.
The contest, if you could call it that entering the last 12 minutes, was reminiscent of Brooklyn’s ugly 127-95 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Nov. 14, a defeat that signaled the start of the Nets’ precipitous fall from a surprising 4-5 start.
But Kilpatrick, whom general manager Sean Marks picked up from the Delaware 87ers last February, and has held on to ever since, refused to go down meekly in front of his “patient” owner, or a crowd that hadn’t seen the Nets win here since a 119-110 victory over Minnesota back on Election Day.
The 26-year-old shooting guard, who had missed 11 of his first 14 shots en route to seven points through 36 minutes, literally took over against one of the best teams in the league, going 11-for-20 from the field down the stretch as the Nets outlasted the Clippers for their first win since a 122-104 triumph at Phoenix on Nov. 12.
“I ended up getting into a zone,” Kilpatrick said after scoring more points than any Nets player this season.
“When you have someone who’s constantly attacking you every play, it keeps the defense off guard,” he added after grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists during the comeback win. “At that point, there was no turning back for me.”
Nor for the Nets, despite Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford drilling a pair of game-tying shots to force both overtimes.
A driving layup by rookie Isaiah Whitehead with 47 seconds remaining snapped a 122-122 deadlock, and Kilpatrick soon followed with a three-point play to cap the scoring, providing a sense of relief for first-year head coach Kenny Atkinson.
“We played with spirit, which was great, and we were fighting and I think we took it to another level… I’m glad we stuck with it and our guys stuck with the plan,” said Atkinson.
“It was wild, no doubt,” added Brook Lopez, who scored 27 points and grabbed eight boards. “We just kept competing. Our guys didn’t give up. We played together trusting one another.”
That trust will have to continue when Brooklyn opens a home-and-home set with Milwaukee and former head coach and Nets legend Jason Kidd here Thursday night. Brooklyn has yet to post back-to-back wins this year.
Kilpatrick did admit that getting pummeled from start to finish against the Clippers at Staples Center two weeks ago played into the Nets refusing to be embarrassed again Tuesday night.
“When we went to LA they got us bad,” he said. “That was something that really stuck in our minds. We really came in today locked in and focused and made sure we paid attention to every detail.”
Trevor Booker and Joe Harris scored 15 points apiece and Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 for Brooklyn, which made 13 of its 38 3-point attempts, including four apiece for Lopez and Kilpatrick.
Paul was sensational in defeat, putting up a triple-double with 26 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
DeAndre Jordan added 23 points and 21 rebounds for the Clippers (14-5), who won’t see the Nets again until next season.
“We were walking around like we [had] done something and that bothers me because we’ve done [nothing]. We haven’t done [anything],” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers seethed after being ejected in the first extra session.
“For us to walk around against a team, that to me is playing their hearts out every night just to win one game, us to walk around like we done something, it bothers me on a basketball level.”
Kilpatrick wound up logging a career-high 47 minutes in the contest, making it imperative that he get rested and ready for the Bucks on Thursday.
“This is one of the most draining games I’ve had,” he admitted. “With me being really able to be a part of a game like this against a top West team like that – they have great players over there – it came down to the wire.”
Nothing But Net: Jeremy Lin continued to sit out with a hamstring injury. The Nets are 3-9 since he went down, but Atkinson indicated that the team’s projected starting point guard was “progressing as planned” with his rehab. … Whitehead had a rough night, finishing with six points on 2-of-8 shooting, but the Lincoln High School legend did not commit a single turnover in a career-high 46 minutes.
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