Brooklyn Boro

Nets look to complete Texas two-step

Brooklyn heads to Houston after comeback win in Dallas

December 8, 2021 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Careening toward their first back-to-back losses of the season Tuesday night in Dallas, the Brooklyn Nets waited until the fourth quarter to flash their Eastern Conference-leading form.

Kevin Durant scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and James Harden added 23 points and 12 assists as the Nets rallied past the Mavericks, 102-99, in front of a sellout crowd of 19,559 at American Airlines Center.

“It’s a character win where you just want to make the right plays to get back in the game and you want to turn the momentum to your side,” said Durant. “I think we did that tonight.”

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Coming off Saturday’s home loss to Chicago, the Nets (17-7) entered the fourth quarter in Dallas down 86-76 before Durant took over.

The NBA’s leading scorer and reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Month went 5-for-6 from the field during the late flurry, but Brooklyn trailed all night before Patty Mills put them in front to stay, 99-98, with a 3-pointer.

Harden followed with a driving layup to stretch the advantage to three points and Durant answered Kristaps Porzingis’ two free throws with a 14-footer that capped the scoring with just over a minute remaining.

“Throughout the course of the game, I feel like we got good shots,” noted Harden. “We just missed them. We just kept sticking with it and kept sticking with it. You’ve got to just keep shooting, especially if that’s what you do.”

The Nets’ fourth-quarter defense frustrated Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night. AP Photo by Tony Gutierrez

Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. both missed potential game-tying shots before time expired as Dallas lost its fifth in a row at home while the Nets got off to an inspiring start on their four-game road trip, which resumes Wednesday night in Houston.

“We had a lot of open looks there in the fourth quarter that just didn’t go down,” Mavs head coach and former Nets great Jason Kidd said. “And then Timmy has a wide-open look. You couldn’t ask for a better look to tie up the game.”

Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 points and former Mav James Johnson added 12 for Brooklyn, which moved one-half game in front of Chicago for the best record in the East despite trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half.

Doncic finished with 28 points and nine assists for Dallas, which was outscored 27-13 over the final 12 minutes.
Without that fourth-quarter effort, the Nets would be headed to Houston looking to snap their first skid of the year.

Instead, they’ll look to complete their Texas two-step in Harden’s former NBA home Wednesday.

“We’ve been in this league long enough to know it’s winning time. It’s go time,” said the former league Most Valuable Player and three-time scoring champion.

James Harden and the Eastern Conference-leading Nets will continue their road trip in Houston, Harden’s former NBA home, Wednesday. AP Photo by Tony Gutierrez

NOTHING BUT NET: Following their visit to Houston, the Nets will resume their trip Friday in Atlanta and Sunday in Detroit before returning Downtown to the Barclays Center on Dec. 14, when they’ll host Toronto. … Mills finished with 10 points in Tuesday’s victory. … While Durant paces the league with 28.6 points per contest, Harden is averaging 9.5 assists, good for second-best among all NBA players.

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