The Brooklyn Nets earned their fifth straight victory the hard way Wednesday night, on a last-second tip by center Brook Lopez.
The big fella, celebrating his 27th birthday, gathered his own miss for the game-winning hoop and secured the thrilling 100-98 victory against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The Nets are locked with Miami for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff push, though the Heat hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
That’s what makes this stretch run all the more impressive, a surge the Nets extended in cardiac fashion to cap a four-game sweep of their crosstown rivals for the first time since 2006-07.
Brook Lopez tipped in his own miss for the winning basket with two seconds left. The 7-footer had worked a pick-and-roll with Deron Williams, whose layup attempt rimmed out. Lopez’s clutch play lifted the Nets to their eighth win in nine games.
“I knew they would have to spoil us tonight and beat us,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “But we got the win, and whether it was one point or two points, that’s all that matters and we move on.” […] In winning nine of their last 11 games, a record that’s second only to the 10-1 mark the Warriors have compiled during the same stretch, the Nets have found their mojo. They’ve overcome injuries and flawlessly incorporated a new piece in Thaddeus Young. Lopez is playing as well as he has all season, no longer searching for his role and shot within the offense.