Lin’s Fourth-Quarter Push Lifts Brooklyn to Second Win in 20 Games
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jeremy Lin and the Brooklyn Nets got down and dirty in Memphis on Monday night.
Eschewing their penchant for settling for 3-pointers, the NBA-worst Nets instead challenged the ultra-physical Grizzlies in and around the paint, resulting in a 122-109 victory spearheaded by Lin’s fourth-quarter heroics in front of 15,505 paying customers at the FedEx Forum.
"We want to develop a nastiness about us,” noted Lin after almost singlehandedly rallying the Nets to their second win in four contests since a season-high 16-game losing streak. “Hopefully, we can continue to build on this."
Though the Nets’ building process is still in its initial phases under first-year head coach Kenny Atkinson, there is a trend developing when Brooklyn decides to ball along the interior rather than relying almost religiously on the 3-ball.
In all but three of their league-low 11 wins this season, the Nets have gotten to the free-throw line at least 30 times.
Despite going a healthy 14-for-30 from 3-point range Monday in Memphis, Brooklyn also drained 30-of-38 at the charity stripe, grinding their way to a 2-4 mark on their ongoing eight-game road trip.
Lin was at the forefront of a dominant final 12 minutes by the Nets, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including nine in a row during a critical stretch that put Brooklyn ahead to stay.
"[Lin] had some big shots and he made some big shots," Atkinson said of his point guard/quarterback, who has missed 44 games this season with a nagging hamstring injury. "But I thought everyone contributed. It was really a team victory."
With leading scorer Brook Lopez held in check for most of the evening, managing eight points in 32 minutes, the Nets’ youth movement made sure this one went their way.
Sean Kilpatrick scored a team-high 23 points, 16 of which came from the line, rookies Isaiah Whitehead and Caris LeVert added 15 and 14 points, respectively, and Randy Foye put up 14 more for Brooklyn, which will be in Atlanta on Wednesday night hoping to secure its first back-to-back wins of the season.
“We want to develop a toughness about us,” noted Lin, who is finally beginning to look like the player the Nets were hoping to attain when they doled out $36 million over three years for his services this past summer.
Slumping Memphis, which beat the Nets 122-103 here at Barclays Center on Feb. 13, dropped its third in a row and has lost five of seven overall despite a game-high 32 points from Mike Conley, whom Brooklyn coveted in free agency this summer.
Instead, the Nets got Lin, who is slowly starting to make good on his multiyear pact. Especially during the fourth quarter Monday night in Memphis, when he hit four straight free throws, nailed a 10-footer and sank a 3-ball to give the Nets command.
"We had too many `My bads' and too many `We should have done this, we should have done that," lamented Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who finished with 18 points. "Too many of them. Especially down the stretch."
Nothing But Net: Tanduay Rum has partnered with Barclays Center and the Nets for the brand’s first-ever alliance with an NBA arena and team. The partnership will designate Tanduay Rum as the official rum of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, as well as the presenting sponsor of the venue’s 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant. Additionally, Tanduay Rum will be an associate sponsor of the arena’s BROOKLYN SHOW platform, and will have a variety of signage integrated throughout the venue. “We are excited to partner with Tanduay Rum as Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets continue to go global,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “Partnering with Tanduay is a valuable opportunity to welcome an emerging international business into our arena that will enhance the overall experience of our fans.” To tip-off the partnership, Tanduay will host a post-game party and concert in Barclays Center’s 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant presented by Tanduay on Sunday following the Nets vs. Knicks game, which will be attended by celebrity influencers across the sports and entertainment industries.“ Tanduay is very proud to be part of this historic partnership, the first of its kind for a Filipino company,” says Lucio Tan, Jr., President of Tanduay. “Like Brooklyn, Tanduay shares a unique spirit and dynamic character that is anything but ordinary. Tanduay and Brooklyn are a natural fit, and we look forward to building our legacy together.” … According to the Associated Press, the Nets’ eight-game trip spans 8,100 miles over 16 days as Brooklyn had to vacate its building for Ringling Brothers Circus and the ACC Tournament, which was scheduled to kick off at Barclays Center on Tuesday.