Though handcuffed in part by Ringling Bros. taking over the Barclays Center for the better part of February, the schedule-maker surely had a sense of humor when putting together the slate in which the Nets are entrenched.
As if they weren't weary enough after logging 11 days away from home following the All-Star break, which was sandwiched around a three-game road trip just before that started, they were welcoming the team with the league's best winning percentage to town, a franchise that likes to get up and down the court and run teams into submission.
That's what makes the Nets' 110-108 win over Golden State Monday night all the more impressive. Jarrett Jack sank a tough pull-up jumper from the free-throw line over Stephen Curry with 1.1 seconds left as the Nets (25-33) overcame three turnovers in the final 2:11 to earn a gutty victory and start off this stretch of six home games in nine days in positive fashion.
"We can send all those Golden State fans home who came to watch here in Brooklyn," coach Lionel Hollins said. "When you win games like this, people take notice, they keep coming back and eventually they start rooting for you versus the other team."
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 26 points and Deron Williams added 22. Alan Anderson finished with 16 points.
Curry scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and had seven assists, and the Warriors (46-12) outrebounded the Nets 50-38.
With 1.1 seconds remaining, Curry had his chance to steal the show and send it to overtime. Anderson appeared to get lost trying to cover Curry, who ran free toward the basket, taking a few dribbles. But he was unable to get the shot off in time and the buzzer sounded, signaling the Nets had held on and improved to an NBA-best 7-1 in games decided by three or fewer points this season.
Just earlier, Curry basically had the crowd in his hands, sinking crazy shots to keep Golden State in it. He drained a pull-up 25-footer with 9:36 remaining to claw the Warriors to within 91-90, drawing a mixture of gasps and cheers, and it had the feeling of one of those moments where he was about to take things over and put the Warriors on his back.
Instead,Thaddeus Young (14 points) caught fire and knocked down a pair of three-pointers, swelling the Nets' advantage to 97-91 with 8:41 remaining. They were still up 106-96 on Williams' floater with 4:00 left. But Curry wasn't about to be outdone, unleashing his lethal stroke and nailing a trio of three-pointers in 1:25 to bring Golden State within 108-105. The MVP candidate's jumper with 1:09 left tied it at 108, setting the stage for Jack's game-winning bucket.
The Nets canned 23 of their first 37 shots and limited Golden State's dynamic backcourt of Curry and Klay Thompson to 2-for-11 combined in the first half. The Nets held a 57-51 edge at the break.
Lopez helped change the tone of things in the first half, establishing an inside presence for the Nets off the bench after Andrew Bogut was having his way early inside. The Nets' 7-footer poured in 16 first-half points, neutralizing and limiting the Warriors' second-chance opportunities.