Brook Lopez tips Brooklyn Nets past Denver Nuggets in OT

By Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange   |   March 5, 2016 at 12:59 AM
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DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets were less than a second away from sweeping Brooklyn this season.

On the strength of two clutch plays the Nets are the ones enjoying a sweep.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points, including a game-winning tip-in with four-tenths of a second left in overtime, and Brooklyn defeated the Nuggets 121-120 on Friday.

Markel Brown scored a career-high 21 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 17 for the Nets, who have won three in a row in Denver and five straight overall against the Nuggets.

It was the second time in less than a month Denver had a win ripped away against Brooklyn. The Nets (18-44) beat the Nuggets 105-104 in Brooklyn on Feb. 8 when Joe Johnson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from well behind the arc.

"Both games we're one stop from getting a win and we were unable to do so," Denver coach Michael Malone said.

Emmanuel Mudiay had 25 points and seven assists and Gary Harris tied a career-high with 21 points, but Denver suffered another tough loss to Brooklyn.

"It's always a tough loss," Mudiay said. "We didn't defend so that's what happens when you don't defend late situations like that."

Johnson, who was waived last week, wasn't around to be the hero. This time, it was Lopez who came through when he tipped in Shane Larkin's missed layup.

"We were trying to get into a pick-and-role, Shane made a great move and beat Mudiay off the dribble and drew (Nikola) Jokic," Lopez said. "I went to crash the basket and it came back out."

It ended a back-and-forth overtime in a game that had 17 lead changes. Bogdanovic's layup put Brooklyn ahead by one early in the overtime and Brown's dunk made it 119-116 with 2:28 left.

Mudiay's layup with 1:02 remaining cut the lead to one, and after Thaddeus Young's hook rimmed out at the other end, Mudiay hit two free throws to put Denver ahead 120-119 with 40 seconds left.

A Brooklyn turnover and missed 3-pointer by Denver's Will Barton with 6.2 seconds left set up the last sequence.

"Anytime Brook sets a screen, it's going to create some openness for Larkin," Nets interim coach Tony Brown said. "He was able to get to the rim and the missed shot we were able to put it back in. Huge play, huge game."

Jokic's desperation shot was well short at the final buzzer.

Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Jokic finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets (24-38).

The Nets are 3-3 on their nine-game road trip that continues Saturday night in Minnesota. They head to Minneapolis with a hot shooting hand after hitting 59 percent of their 3-pointers Friday. They made their first five and were 9-for-13 in the first half from long range.

"It's a joke how badly we defended," Malone said. "The second half was much better, but you can't pick and choose when you are going to defend."

The Nuggets nearly rallied to win in regulation when Mudiay's three-point play with 5.1 seconds left put them ahead 112-110.

After a Brooklyn timeout, Mudiay fouled Bogdanovic on a 3-point attempt with 3.3 seconds left but he hit only two free throws to tie it at 112.

Mudiay said he didn't think he fouled Bogdanovic.

"He sold it," he said. "It is what it is, I got all ball but they called it a foul."

Harris' 3-pointer at the horn rimmed out and sent the game to overtime.

NOTES: Nuggets coach Michael Malone said F Axel Toupane will get a chance to show what he can do. Toupane was signed to a 10-day contract Thursday to help add depth, and will see some game action with F Danilo Gallinari out with torn ligaments in his ankle. "With Gallo being out, bringing in another small forward can help us get through practice," Malone said. "There's also some intrigue there. He's talented, he's versatile and if we can get him out there the next couple of games or so we will do so." ... Nets G Sean Kilpatrick signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on Sunday. He played under two 10-day contracts with Denver this season. ... G Will Barton is the only Nugget to appear in all 62 games this season.

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