Before the Nets eventually pulled together and grinded out a 112-108 win to complete their West Coast trip with a 5-0 record, there was plenty of drama. There was a questionable call. And there were some animated reactions as all of it unfolded.
Nets Make Steve Ballmer Squirm — Literally
You knew it was going to be a weird finish when, with 1:34 leeft and the Nets up 107-103, James Harden missed both of his free throw attempts. “The Beard” is a career 85.9% free throw shooter, but he has fared even better since joining Brooklyn via four-way trade on January 14. He entered Sunday’s game shooting 90.2% from the line since becoming a member of the Nets.
Two free throws by Kawhi Leonard tied the game at 108 with 29 seconds left. On the Nets’ next possession, Kyrie Irving missed a 27-foot 3-pointer from the right wing, but DeAndre Jordan was there for the offensive rebound and tip-in. Harden then drew an offensive foul on Leonard to seal Brooklyn’s victory.
Nearby, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer watched intently from his isolated baseline seat.
As the drama unfolded, the billionaire businessman couldn’t contain himself as he squirmed in his seat, kicking his legs while reaching for the back of his chair with his hands.
The Nets are having that type of effect on opponents this season.
They’ve won six in a row, including the last four without perennial All-Star Kevin Durant. As of Sunday night, the Nets, with their 20-12 record, were just a half game back of the Philadelphia 76ers (20-11) for first place in the Eastern Conference.
On the ESPN broadcast of Nets-Clippers, play-by-play commentator Mike Breen had a laugh escape him while he watched Ballmer squirm. Color analyst Jeff Van Gundy said, “Isn’t that great about Steve Ballmer?”
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More Antics From Ballmer
Apparently, Ballmer was doing a whole lot of moving around from his baseline seat throughout the game — and not just squirming.
As NetsDaily noted on Twitter, NBA TV showed video of Ballmer sitting behind the basket trying to distract Nets players shooting free throws.
An interesting tactic from a man with a net worth reportedly above $80 billion. But without fans in the stands at Staples Center, perhaps he figured someone had to do it.