Can the shift of the calendar change the Brooklyn Nets' fortunes?
The Nets played the role of spoiler in Oklahoma City as Joe Johnson nailed a buzzer-beating dagger to beat the Thunder, 95-93. Despite trailing by 16 points in the third quarter, Deron Williams led the charge. Williams put forth his best game of the season with 29 points, five steals, and four assists.
Johnson entered the final possession shooting 3-of-10 from the field, but he knocked down a leaning fadeaway from 20-feet away to give the Nets the unlikeliest of wins. Johnson said he never lost confidence and head coach Jason Kidd never considered an alternative strategy for the final play.
As the ball sailed through the air, multiple Nets jumped with joy as the ball soared to the hoop. Nothing but net.
Although the Nets needed a last-second shot to win, the comeback started in the final second of the third quarter. Following two free-throws, Williams intercepted the Oklahoma City inbounds pass near midcourt and heaved in a three-pointer to pull the Nets within 11 points.
With Kevin Durant fighting foul trouble and Russell Westbrook out with a knee injury, the Nets regained momentum. Williams received help from Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter, as the veteran forward scored 18 points.
Johnson actually struggled for the majority of the night, but Kidd wisely chose to put the ball in one of the league's best clutch scorers in recent memory.
The Nets walk away from Thursday night's game with an impressive defensive performance. Although Kevin Durant scored 24 points, the Nets contained the rest of the Thunder scorers. The Nets also forced 21 turnovers.
The Nets return home to Barclays Center for a slate of games against Eastern Conference opponents. They'll take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.