The Brooklyn Nets faced off against the Los Angeles Clippers for the second and final time of the regular season on Sunday. The first matchup between the two teams back in early February resulted in a win for Brooklyn, 124-120. The battle then was something spectacular, and Sunday’s game was nothing less despite the game coming down to a controversial foul call in the waning moments.
Controversial Foul Call on Kawhi Decided the Game
In the closing moments of the fourth quarter Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard had a chance to tie the game at 110. However, Leonard was hit with an offensive foul call for a push-off on James Harden.
Kawhi was called for an offensive foul on Harden: pic.twitter.com/3TyukEZSzH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 22, 2021
The Clippers would not score again as they went on to lose the game 112-108. After the game, Kawhi sounded off about the foul call.
Kawhi Sounds off on Foul Call
“My take from it is if we’re going to pretty much play bully ball at the end of the game, you know, let both sides play it,” Leonard said to reporters after the loss via Sports Illustrated. “But they didn’t call it, so good defense. I felt that I got grabbed early, but like I said no call, so great defense.”
Kawhi Leonard took one question tonight: mine about the offensive foul. Here's what he said:
“My take from it is we’re gonna play bully ball at the end of the game, let it go both ways. But they didn’t call it, so good defense.”
He then said, 'Alright,' got up, and left. pic.twitter.com/1aBymwNvDW
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 22, 2021
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue also gave his thoughts on the call that ultimately decided the game.
“They called it, so there’s nothing you can do about it now,” Lue said via Sports Illustrated. “I’m not a big complain guy, but some guys said he had his arm before Kawhi was able to push off… I don’t know, because I didn’t look at it. To me, the game was over, and there was nothing you could do about it, so it is what it is.”
The Stars Were Out at Staples Center
Kyrie Irving and James Harden put on a clinic, scoring 28 and 37 points, respectively. The two All-Stars have looked like the best backcourt in the NBA as they are on a six-game win streak. five of their wins have come during the team’s five-game West Coast road trip including a 128-124 win against the Phoenix Suns where they came back from a 28-point deficit.
KYRIE IRVING IS A MAGICIAN
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 22, 2021
Harden with the stepback triple
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 22, 2021
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Kawhi put on his usual star performance, scoring 29 points along with 13 rebounds. Clippers forward Paul George did not play in the final minutes as he was on a minutes restriction due to a recently sustained toe injury. He was still clicking as he squeezed out 34 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Brooklyn is having injury troubles of their own. A crucial point in Sunday’s matchup occurred with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Clippers guard Patrick Beverly set an illegal screen on Jeff Green that would cause a right shoulder injury.
— Chaz (@ChazClavant) February 22, 2021
The injury prompted Steve Nash to insert DeAndre Jordan at the center position. The move seemed questionable at first but would prove to be the most important substitution of the game as Jordan would go on to score the game-winning layup.
DEANDRE JORDAN. CLUTCH. pic.twitter.com/pSIOJ4by5n
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 22, 2021
Kevin Durant remains out with a right hamstring injury. Nets’ head coach Steve Nash says that although KD is not quite ready to suit up he is progressing every day.
“I don’t have an update. I think he’s progressing every day, though, and it’s really positive. I couldn’t tell you when his return is,” Nash said via NetsDaily. “But I’d reiterate that we’re all optimistic and positive that he’s improving at a rapid rate and will be back soon.”
The Nets will be looking for their seventh straight win when they take on the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center on Tuesday. This will be the first Nets game of the season with fans in attendance.