Nets’ Nic Claxton Has NSFW Reaction to Royce O’Neale’s Game-Winning Shot

Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates a teammate's shot.

The Brooklyn Nets (29-17) got a career-high 24 points out of big man Nic Claxton on the way to a 120-116 victory over the hosting Golden State Warriors. It’s their second win over the Warriors giving them the season series.

It’s also their second straight win after a four-game slide following Kevin Durant’s knee injury.

Even with that from Claxton – and 38 points from Kyrie Irving – the Nets needed more. They saw their night end up in the hands of forward Royce O’Neale who would prove more than capable of delivering on a night when Warriors star Stephen Curry had 26 points while his team got another 20 points off the bench from Jonathan Kuminga.

With the Nets trailing by one point with just 28 seconds on the clock, Irving found O’Neale for his ninth and biggest assist of the game which the latter sunk with ease.


Nic Claxton’s NSFW Response to Royce O’Neale

“He’s got big b****,” Claxton told Yes Network’s Meghan Triplett of O’Neale who finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds, two blocks, one assist, and knocked down 4-of-7 triples on the night. “He steps up in the crunch time.”

To Claxton’s point, that shot was the only one O’Neale took in the fourth quarter despite playing the full 12 minutes. He did not need to do much else with Claxton and Irving combining for 23 points in the frame. O’Neale has stepped up over the last two games averaging 14.5 points on 72.9% true shooting with a plus-11.3 net rating, per NBA.com.

It was just one month ago that O’Neale issued a warning to the Nets that they couldn’t continue to get out to slow starts.

“We’ve got to raise our level of play,” O’Neale said per Brian Lewis of the New York Post in the middle of what ended up as a 12-game winning streak. “The way we’ve been playing sometimes, you know, can’t come out with lack of energy or [focus]. We’ve got to set the tone from the jump and then we’ve just got to execute and control the whole game.”

They would lose Durant nine games later and that resolve would be tested.

Their message remained one of unity inside the locker room almost bordering on defiance as they hit that rough slide that harkens back memories of their 11-game losing streak without Durant last season.


Warriors Took Nets ‘Lightly’

“We just kind of locked in on defense,” Claxton said of the Nets outscoring the Warriors 60-44 in the second half. “And I think they kind of took us lightly. They weren’t ready to play. So we came out and did what we had to do to get the win.”

That is a telling statement considering the Nets scored a franchise-record 91 points in the first half during their first meeting, a 143-113 win on December 20.

The Warriors shot 32.6% from the floor overall and hit just 4-of-15 threes.

Brooklyn finished minus-5 in the turnover battle, minus-8 in fastbreak points, minus-3 in second-chance points, and minus-2 in points in the paint but came away victorious.

“I’m happy we got the win,” Claxton told Triplett before chiding himself for leaving plenty of points on the court at the charity stripe. “Should’ve had 30, I got to knock my free throws down….I want that. I shot horrible – 6-for-15. But only way I can get better [is] if I keep going to the line and I’ll figure it out.”


Nets Next Challenge

Claxton’s struggles at the free-throw line are well-documented and have been costly. But he has been a key piece of the Nets’ resurgence from their early-season abyss and his mindset bodes well for when (not if) the scenario comes up again this coming postseason.

“At the end of the day, we got the win,” he said. “That’s what matters. This was a huge, huge win on the road so we just got to keep the momentum going.”

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