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News » Nets dodge Thunder storm

Nets dodge Thunder storm

Nets dodge Thunder storm
EAST RUTHERFORD ? Right around the time Vince Carter was setting up for the potential game-winning shot with about nine seconds left in regulation, Nets coach Lawrence Frank was on the court screaming for a timeout.

The three-point shot fell but didn't count, as Frank got the timeout. He felt awful for a little while, but Carter and rookie Brook Lopez made sure it was for only a little while.

With Carter delivering in overtime and Lopez standing tall all night, the Nets pulled out the 103-99 victory over the NBA's worst team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Monday night at Izod Center in a game that was tougher than expected and probably went longer than it should have ? thanks to Frank.

"Oh man, I felt horrible," Frank said after the Nets registered their fourth straight home win. "We were a little bit scattered. I called the timeout when Devin [Harris] had the ball. Then obviously Vince hits it.

"I apologized to the team. I said, 'Hey look, I screwed us that time. Let's win that thing. We've got an extra five minutes.' "

Right from the start of overtime, Carter showed he wasn't going to let the Nets lose to Oklahoma City (6-33).

He knocked down a three on the first trip ? and this one counted. Carter scored seven of his 21 points in the extra session, including two foul shots with 13.6 seconds left that put the Nets up six. He also matched a career high with six steals.

Lopez had a huge offensive-rebound dunk with 1:09 left in OT to put the Nets up four and finished with a career-best 31 points and 13 rebounds

"He's been showing it from Day One," said Harris, returned from a two-game absence because of a hamstring injury and had 17 points and eight assists. "The more opportunity he gets on the floor, the better he understands. He's getting better and better each time he plays."

Kevin Durant had 26 points and rookie Russell Westbrook 19 for Oklahoma City.

The Nets (19-19) certainly needed a big game from Lopez to get a win they really needed. Their schedule gets tougher, as they play at Boston, host the Blazers and Celtics and then open a four-game trip with games at New Orleans and San Antonio.

The urgency wasn't there in the first half as the Nets trailed by as many as nine, but it showed up in the second half. Of course, they should have put the Thunder away after they went up 12 with 8:24 left and seven with 4:08 left following a driving Carter dunk.

But the Nets went the final 3:28 without a field goal and the one they hit ? with the score tied at 88 ? didn't count.

That sequence started when Lopez missed inside and Carter couldn't convert the tip. He then tapped it out and ran out to the left wing. Harris passed the ball to Carter, who didn't hesitate. He had no idea why the whistle was blown with 8.5 seconds left until the ref told him.

"When he threw it, I just turned and started lining up," Carter said. "As I let it go, I heard the whistle.

"It was unfortunate, but we did a good job in overtime to find a way to get the win. It would have been a terrible way to lose a game."

Harris' first thought after learning it didn't count?

"Damn ? or a variation of it," Harris said. "He said it was his fault. That's just Coach, though. He likes to call timeouts. It was a tough situation. We just had to roll with it."

The Nets had one shot after the timeout, but Harris missed a 19-foot jumper. The Thunder still had five-tenths of a second, but Carter slapped away the inbounds lob to Durant and forced overtime. From there, Carter wouldn't let the Nets lose.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 14, 2009


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