Steve Nash’s floor-general instincts appear just as sharp as they were in his playing days.
That much was on display late in Tuesday night’s game between Nash’s Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers. With the Nets leading 120-118 and 7.1 seconds left, Kawhi Leonard stepped to the free-throw line with a chance to bring the Clippers to within a point. Nash, though, was already a step ahead. The first-year coach was seen telling Jeff Green to run to the other end of the floor after the free-throw attempt.
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A few moments later, after Leonard converted the free throw, James Harden took the inbounds pass and quickly fired it the length of the floor, where Green was open for a layup. Green converted the bucket and was fouled in the process, putting the Nets back up by three and helping to secure their 124-120 win at Barclays Center.
Nash opts to foul with Nets up 3
Perhaps Sunday’s loss to the Wizards had something to do with the way Nash handled the last few possessions of the Clippers game.
In the game against Washington, the Wizards scored two 3-pointers in a span of about three seconds to take a one-point lead with four seconds left. They went on to beat the Nets by a final of 149-146.
But against Los Angeles, Nash forbid the Clippers to even attempt a game-tying 3, instead opting to foul in the game’s waning moments. Up 3 with seven seconds left, Kevin Durant fouled Leonard to send him to the line. Up 3 with three seconds left, Harden fouled Nicolas Batum to ensure there would be no buzzer-beating 3 by the Clippers.
“I took a lot of pride (in the win),” Nash said afterward, via Matt Brooks of Nets Daily. “That’s a really difficult team to defend, and we did a great job. When (the Nets) put forth the effort they did tonight, we’ll be tought to beat.”
Most impressive win yet?
Kendrick Perkins thinks so.
The former NBA center turned ESPN analyst took to Twitter shortly after Brooklyn’s win to deem it the best yet.
“This was the most impressive win for the Nets (this) season against a Clippers team that been smacking everybody,” Perkins tweeted. “…watching Kyrie, KD and Harden play at this level was a BEAUTIFUL thing to watch! Real Talk.”
The Nets’ Big 3 was largely unstoppable, after all.
Kyrie Irving had 39 points, including six 3-pointers. Durant had 28 points and nine rebounds. And Harden had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for his fourth triple-double in nine games as a member of the team. Brooklyn improved to 14-9.
“Kevin Durant, Best Player on the Planet, scored 28 on just 13 shots. 11 of 13!” Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless tweeted after the game. “He obviously didn’t at all mind a hot-handed Kyrie took 10 more shots. AND HARDEN HAD ANOTHER TRIPLE DOUBLE. 14 ASSISTS. RUNAWAY NBA ASSIST LEADER. THIS IS WHY THE NETS WILL WORK. #NothingButNets”