On Jan. 22, the Clippers thrashed the Nets by 39 points, kicking off what would become a four-game losing streak for Brooklyn. When the two teams met on Monday night, the Nets played them a bit closer, improbably matching the Clips point for point until there were but 8.2 seconds remaining.
It was then that Jarrett Jack tapped into the kind of late-game magic the 19-28 Nets haven’t had in adequate supply this season:
(Video via The Brooklyn Game)
The replay angles illuminate just how close Jack’s shot was to being blocked by DeAndre Jordan. Yet with a crossover and shuffle into a quick pull-up, Jack was able to create just enough space against the seven-foot shot-blocker to launch his attempt cleanly. It found the net with a splash, completing what had been a furious comeback.
With just 1:10 remaining in the game, the Nets had trailed by eight points off a basket from Jordan. Deron Williams, in his first game back from a rib injury, then waltzed up the court to hit a long, contested three over the top of Chris Paul. A foul to prevent a Blake Griffin dunk then worked out for the best, as Griffin missed both of his attempts. Joe Johnson was fouled in his attempt to race the ball upcourt, only to then miss two attempts of his own.
It was here that most comeback attempts would run aground. Trailing teams can scant afford to leave points at the free throw line, but a back-tapped rebound from Brook Lopez made its way back to Johnson in a matter of seconds, giving the guard a slice of redemption with another long, difficult three-pointer.
After securing another defensive stop, the Nets executed a quick pick-and-roll for Jack and Lopez that sprung Alan Anderson open in the left corner. The ball came to him and his shot rang true, along with a whistle as Griffin slid underneath Anderson on his descent.
The ensuing free throw gave Brooklyn a 100-98 edge, which was surrendered on the next possession as Paul wormed his way to the rim for a layup.
It took all this to set up Jack’s eventual game-winner: three big shots, each somehow more improbable than the last.