The way the Brooklyn Nets passed and shot through four quarters Wednesday, you wondered how they ever have an empty possession.
The way the Nets shot during overtime, you wondered how they ever got to 100.
The Charlotte Bobcats extinguished the Nets over the extra five minutes, holding them to 2-of-9 shooting, for a 116-111 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The win made the Bobcats 35-37. They are solidly in seventh place in the East after this victory and closed to 1 1/2 games behind the sixth-place Washington Wizards, who lost Wednesday to the Phoenix Suns.
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“We made a step tonight the way we locked in on defense,” said center Al Jefferson, who finished with 35 points and 15 rebounds. “This was about getting stops – we’ve got to have that effort every night at the defensive end.”
The finishing touch on this game came from a somewhat unexpected player. Chris Douglas-Roberts grabbed in the ball after Nets center Mason Plumlee blocked Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts’ 3-foot shot.
Douglas-Roberts nailed a 21-foot jump shot for a five-point lead with 10 seconds left – ball game.
Douglas-Roberts got almost 27 minutes Wednesday, in part because the Bobcats are shutting down Gary Neal until his ankle and knee injuries improve. Coach Steve Clifford said the beauty of Douglas-Roberts is he’s the same reliable guy whether he’s playing six minutes or 24 on a given night.
“I wouldn’t say it’s hard, because I’m prepared,” Douglas-Roberts said. “That comes from trusting in work.”
Douglas-Roberts (16 points) made three of eight 3-point attempts, spacing the floor in the manner the Bobcats expect from Neal.
“I love being on the floor with Al,” Douglas-Roberts said. “They were leaving me in the corner (to double-team Jefferson) and I’ve got to make that shot.”
Point guard Kemba Walker (20 points and 12 assists) made the other big shot in overtime, a step-back 19-footer with 43 seconds left to spread the lead from one to three.
Walker struggled throughout the first half to guard bigger, brawnier Deron Williams. Williams had 18 of his 29 points during the first quarter, and the Nets led by as much as nine in the third quarter.
But Williams was just 4-for-11 in the second half, missing both of his shots in overtime.
“When he’s healthy, like he is now, he’s big, powerful and quick,” Clifford said of Williams, who once scored 57 on the Bobcats in Charlotte. “He has great skills and is a killer competitor.”
All true, but it was Jefferson who had the single most impressive performance of this game.
“No one on the planet can guard him,” said Brooklyn forward Paul Pierce. “We tried to double him. Single, triple – there’s nothing we could have done with him tonight.
“He was in that type of zone, and that’s the way he’s been playing.”