There’s a stat in pro basketball which now notes that only four teams out of 3029 games in the shot-clock era beginning in the 1954-55 season have overcome a 25-point, fourth-quarter deficit and win. The Brooklyn Nets are that fourth team.
The Nets, on the road, struggling, about to lose their fourth consecutive game Tuesday night, March 18, this one to the Sacramento Kings, came from behind to defeat them 123-121, ending their losing streak.
The Nets had been 0-178 during the last 20 seasons when trailing by at least 25 points at any point in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. This win was monumental.
Down 103-78 at the end of the third quarter, Brooklyn outscored the Kings 45-18 in the fourth for their 37th win of the season, one game over .500, currently a 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
“I wasn’t expecting an amazing comeback,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, being frank and honest. He even criticized his coaching. It was his intention to rest his main guys, play out the game. “And then slowly but surely, we started cutting the lead.”
Nets’ guard D’Angelo Russell scored 44-points, a career-high with 12 assists. Russell dropped 27 in the fourth quarter, 10-of-15, 66 percent, another career landmark for Brooklyn’s fourth year player.
“Once you get in that groove, it’s hard to get you out of it,” said Russell, drafted second overall in 2015 by the Los Angeles Lakers who Brooklyn plays tomorrow night, their fifth of seven road games. Six on the West Coast, their longest trip this season.
With eight-tenths of a second remaining, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a layup from an inbound pass, driving from the 3-point arc to put Brooklyn ahead.14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists off the bench.
Brooklyn played sluggish throughout the first three quarters. Center Jarrett Allen was next in scoring with 13, 7. rebounds.
They’ll travel to Portland to play the Trailblazers Monday and head back east to Philadelphia to play the 76ers, then back here to Flatbush and Atlantic to face the Boston Celtics next Saturday.