Nets edge Spurs on Thomas’ OT basket to end 5-game home skid
NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets just needed any home win, so they weren’t about to complain when one that appeared to be coming easily almost didn’t come at all.
A blown lead late in regulation resulted in five more minutes, but it finally ended with their first win at Barclays Center since Dec. 16.
“Different challenges each game, so we figure out what they are, fight through them and do better,” Kevin Durant said.
Rookie Cam Thomas made a runner in the lane with 1.4 seconds left in overtime and the Nets beat the San Antonio Spurs 121-119 on Sunday to snap a five-game home losing streak.
Durant scored 28 points for the Nets and James Harden had 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. But both struggled after the Nets had a 10-point lead with 4 minutes to play in regulation, forcing the extra period.
The Spurs made Durant give up the ball on the Nets’ final possession and he got it to Thomas.
“I just trust the work I put in,” Thomas said. “I’ve put in a lot of work, so I’m always ready whenever KD or James kicks it to me in a situation like that.”
Lonnie Walker IV scored 25 for the Spurs, while Dejounte Murray finished with 19 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
But the Spurs couldn’t get up a good shot on the last possession of regulation or overtime in their sixth loss in seven games.
Harden’s basket gave the Nets a 111-99 lead with 4:59 left and it still was 113-103 when Durant scored with 4:01 to play. But Brooklyn was shut out from there, with rookie Josh Primo’s 3-pointer tying it with 40 seconds to play.
Durant missed a series of jumpers afterward and his only basket OT was a follow shot. But he made the pass the Nets needed to end their woes at home, where they had fallen to 10-10.
“If you wish and could make your wish come true, you don’t want him shooting the last shot, that’s for sure,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “But we let the young man go middle. A tough closeout. We needed to send him the opposite direction, so he made a tough shot.”
Nic Claxton had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who opened a cross-country, back-to-back set of games. They play at Portland on Monday in a game that was originally scheduled for December but postponed when the Nets had a coronavirus outbreak.
The Spurs had a three-point lead with 4:23 left in the second quarter before the Nets closed with a 16-4 spurt to take a 60-51 lead to halftime.
Brooklyn pushed it to 72-58 when Patty Mills made a 3-pointer against his former team, but Bryn Forbes had a good finish to the third quarter as the Spurs cut it to 91-89.
Spurs: Forbes scored 18 points. … Primo scored 12 and Jakob Poeltl had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Nets: Former Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge missed the game with a sore right foot. Coach Steve Nash said he believed the injury was just some irritation and wouldn’t sideline Aldridge long. … Nash said he had no update on Joe Harris, who is recovering from left ankle surgery.
Before the game, Popovich presented Durant with a trophy for being chosen last year’s USA Basketball male athlete of the year. Asked about coaching Durant in Tokyo, where he became the Americans’ career scoring leader, Popovich said: “I go to the common denominator: No Kevin, no gold. That’s the most simplistic and an honest statement one can make.”
Nash said the Nets were still determining how they would handle who would play Monday in Portland. He said the Nets wouldn’t use the unusual schedule as an excuse but couldn’t remember one quite like it.
“I can’t remember all the back-to-backs I ever played in, but I don’t remember any six-hour flights in between a back-to-back and three-hour time zones and all that stuff,” Nash said. “So it’s different, but we’ve got to take it as an opportunity, an opportunity to succeed under adversity.”
Spurs: Visit the New York Knicks on Monday.
Nets: Visit Portland on Monday.