The Brooklyn Nets had the lead and a chance to win the game with a minute and a half left, but the Minnesota Timberwolves score the final nine points of the game to win 98-91 at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
Brook Lopez, playing in his second game of the year, was right in the middle of it all. He finished with just 10 points, five rebounds and four turnovers in nearly 34 minutes. He also failed to defend Nikola Pekovic as the Minnesota big man converted a three-point play to go up 94-91 and then committed a costly offensive foul with 48.6 left on the clock.
“It’s hard to win, especially in crunch time like that. You have to take care of the ball and value every possession,” said Joe Johnson. “We had two costly turnovers and we paid the price at the end.”
Johnson led the Nets with 22 points, Deron Williams had 19 and six assists and Jarrett Jack had 14. No other Nets scored in double digits. Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists and was just two rebounds short of a triple-double. Kevin Martin led with 26 points and Andrew Wiggins had a big game with 17 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Timberwolves jumped out to a big 17-2 lead early in the first quarter, but the Nets quickly caught up and were within three points by the end of the quarter. From that point on it was a pretty close game with 12 lead changes. After that, Minnesota’s biggest lead was nine points late in the third quarter, but Jack scored six points and Mirza Teletovic and Deron Williams hit back-to-back threes to give the Nets a four point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Nets held on to that lead for the next seven minutes, but they never led by more than six points during that stretch. The Timberwolves eventually battled back and successfully took advantage of the rusty Lopez in the final two minutes.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “Well, the guy whipped him,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said of Pekovic taking advantage of Lopez. “I mean, it happens. You’ve got to give Pekovic credit. He was a man in there and I’m always saying that there’s always a badder man than you in the prison, you know, and you got to do it every night.”
GOING SMALL: Brook Lopez played 33 minutes, Kevin Garnett 25, but the Nets other two big men, Mason Plumlee and Jerome Jordan hardly played. Plumlee, who has been inconsistent early on, played just 12 minutes and had four points and four rebounds. Jordan played just over a minute and had just one rebound. The Nets instead went small with Jack and Alan Anderson both picking up over 23 minutes a piece.
UP NEXT: The Nets have two more games in Brooklyn before heading back on the road. They will host the Knicks on Friday night and will take on the Magic on Sunday afternoon.