Los Angeles Clippers came to Brooklyn with countless casualties and the Nets victim placard from Kevin Durant Y James Harden, but they gave the bell this Saturday with an extraordinary victory at home based on the effort and tenacity of the entire team (116-120).
Due to coronavirus or injury, the list of absences in the Clippers was enormous. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac, Luke Kennard, Nico Batum, Isaiah Hartenstein… Neither of them played the first game of 2022 with the Clippers.
With this unpromising outlook – coach Tyronn Lue was not due to coronavirus either – the Clippers achieved their most creditable and surprising triumph so far this season with a last-minute reaction led by Eric Bledsoe (27 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals), Reggie Jackson (19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists) and Terance Mann (19 points and 3 rebounds).
The Spanish pvot Serge Ibaka started as a starter on the Clippers and achieved 4 points (2 of 7 shooting), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a plug in 22 minutes.
The Clippers clearly lost the battle for the rebound (40 vs. 57) but had better toe than the Nets (48.8% in field goals against 43.3% of his rivals).
James Harden got a triple-double34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists) Y Kevin Durant also shone28 points and 9 rebounds), but the Nets had two losses in a row for the first time this season.
SERIOUSNESS FROM THE BEGINNING
The Clippers warned from the start that they were serious.
Although LaMarcus Aldridge hit with long range shots for the Nets, Amir Coffey led a powerful 0-11 run to boost the visitors (9-16 with 6.58 left).
Brave and determined, the Clippers caught the somewhat distracted Nets off guard with their vigor.
A good example of this was the big plug that Serge Ibaka put on James Harden and which led to a fantastic alley-oop by Terance Mann with assistance from Reggie Jackson.
However, the New York team responded with the help of Kevin Durant and James Harden to end the first quarter with a minimal advantage (30-29).
The Clippers’ second unit was made up of unusual or newly signed players to troubleshoot coronavirus cases, but all performed at an admirable level.
As, Justise Winslow, James Ennis III o Wenyen Gabriel they sustained the team in the second quarter in a very dignified way.
Durant reached the break with 16 points as the first offensive option for some Nets who dominated the rebound but did not have their day in the hit heading to the basket (38.9% in field goals).
In the resumption, James Harden y Patty Mills They provided prime ammunition to bolster the Nets’ attack.
Harden added 16 points only in the third quarter and Mills contributed two triples for Brooklyn’s team, who in that penultimate set came to win by 11 points and who seemed to have the game on track (87-80).
Durant faced the last quarter wanting to close the game as soon as possible and with 5.57 remaining, the Nets amassed their biggest lead of the night (105-92). But at the most unexpected moment, the Clippers broke the door down.
THE BLEDSOE EXPLOSION
A masterpiece Eric Bledsoe, in his best performance since returning to the Clippers this summer, he took the responsibility with grit on offense and hunger on defense to shape an astonishing 2-13 partial who left everything up in the air (107-105 with 3.47 to go).
Mann and Jackson joined Bledsoe’s comeback project, the Clippers sweated a lot on defense, and Coffey matched the encounter with a 3-pointer with only 2.35 left on the clock (110-110).
Dazed and only subject to what Durant and Harden invented in attack, the Nets suddenly found themselves behind on the scoreboard after a hook from Winslow to a pass from Bledsoe (113-114 with 1.03 left).
But the final blow was given Mann with a splendid triple over the corner (113-117 with only 23 seconds left), which was celebrated with euphoria by the Clippers bench – with Ibaka at the head – and which closed a victory as magnificent as it was unexpected for the Angelenos.