With a 48-24 record, the Brooklyn Nets just completed the best season by winning percentage in franchise history. What’s more, they might have saved the best for last.
For all the highlight-reel plays the Nets have provided this season, for all the spotlight-grabbing moments they’ve put on tape, Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers had what SportsCenter called the “play of the year for the Nets.”
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Durant Brings the House Down (With Some Help)
It had everything. A behind-the-back pass. An assist off the backboard. A slam finish.
With time winding down in the second quarter of Sunday’s game at Barclays Center, an errant pass by the Cavs ricocheted to Blake Griffin, who caught the loose ball with one hand and spun for a behind-the-back pass to set everything in motion. Kyrie Irving caught Griffin’s pass in transition and quickly dished to a cutting Mike James, who had a wide-open layup if he wanted one — but he wanted more.
Instead of settling for an easy basket, James threw the ball off the backboard. Kevin Durant was trailing right behind to dunk it home, capping what Ian Eagle on the YES Network broadcast called “one of the highlights of he year.”
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Nets React to Incredible Play
After the Nets’ 123-109 win over Cleveland, James was asked to break down the play from his perspective.
“I think they (the Cavs) threw like a bad pass or something, and I kind of tipped it,” James said, via SNY. “Blake did something weird, threw it behind the back, and Kyrie threw it to me. I kind of seen Kev trailing and my instinct was to throw it off the glass but I was a little bit nervous because I think if it would have been bad, I think my Nets career as a player might have been over. But it worked out for me. Kev caught it. It worked.”
Griffin also was asked for his breakdown of the play, opening the door for the ultimate tongue-in-cheek response.
“I don’t like to pat myself on the back, but I did get that thing started,” Griffin said, a subtle smile escaping him. “I was yelling at everybody to take off. I passed to Kyrie and then I was yelling at Kyrie to pass to Mike, and I told Mike to throw it off the backboard. And then Kevin just dunked it. I didn’t tell him anything. I don’t want to take credit for it, those guys did it. But I was just kind of orchestrating from behind.”
After a brief pause, Griffin finally shed the act.
“Nah, it was a good play,” he said. “I just tried to get it out of my hands as fast as possible. And then those guys did the rest. It was fun to watch. It was crazy to see it all come together.”