Rookie Brook Lopez scored a career-high 31 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead the Nets to a 103-99 overtime win on Monday.
The Nets believed they had already won this one in regulation.
Vince Carter caught a pass from Devin Harris and had the winning basket lined up with 9 seconds left, a shot that caught nothing but net from 3-point range. To the shock of everyone on the floor, the score was wiped out because Nets coach Lawrence Frank had run onto the court to call a time out.
“It was set up perfect for me but he thought we were scrambling,” Carter said. “He wanted to get a good play. We did a good job in overtime to find a way to win. It would have been a terrible way to lose a game.”
Nobody felt worse than Frank.
“Oh man, I felt horrible,” Frank said. “We were a little bit scattered. I called the time out when Devin had the ball, and then obviously he passes and Vince hits it.”
After the time out, Harris missed a 19-footer with 0.5 seconds left. That gave the Thunder a chance for a buzzer-beater, but Desmond Mason’s inbound pass never connected.
The Nets came out strong to start the overtime.
“I apologized to the team and said ‘Look, I screwed us this time. Let’s win the thing, and you’ve got an extra five minutes to do it,” Frank said.
Carter got his 3-pointer, leading off the overtime as Nets opened with a 7-0 run that the Thunder could not overcome.
Carter finished with 21 points while Harris, back after missing three of the previous four games with a hamstring injury, had 17 points. Keyon Dooling had 14 points, most coming early in the fourth quarter as the Nets earned a fourth straight home win after starting the season 5-12 in New Jersey.
Kevin Durant had 26 points for the Thunder, who fell to 6-33, and 2-17 on the road.
“It was a good effort on the road,” interim Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We had a chance to win with a half-second left. We’ll take that. The effort was good. We still have to do a better job of taking care of our mistakes.”
The Thunder committed 23 turnovers while the Nets had 14.
“We’re putting ourselves in every game, said Russell Westbrook who had 17 points. “We’re just one step away, one shot away from winning the game. If we just keep doing that, we’ll be all right.”
Jeff Green finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, former Net Nenad Krstic had 12 points and Earl Watson scored 11 points.
The Thunder rallied to tie the game at 88 with 2:05 remaining as Westbrook stripped the ball from Carter. Westbrook’s layup would not fall, but Durant was there for the tap-in.
The Thunder, who won 109-98 in overtime in Chicago on Saturday, continued their improved road play by taking a 51-44 lead into the locker room. Durant led the way with 15 points while Green added 11.
The Nets, lethargic through most of the first half, came alive with a 16-0 run in the third quarter to take a 67-57 lead as Harris led the way with six points and an ally-oop to Carter.
However, they could not sustain the momentum as the Thunder scored the final eight points in the period to cut the Nets lead to 67-65, setting the stage for the final-quarter rally.
Notes: For the second straight game, a former Net made his first appearance against New Jersey. On Friday, Richard Jefferson helped the Bucks pull out a 104-102 win over the Nets in Milwaukee. Then Krstic and the Thunder came to New Jersey. Krstic played four years with New Jersey but wound up in Russia when the Nets did not offer him a contract after last season. The Thunder extended him an offer sheet last month and the Nets declined to match it. “They have some good young players, some big guys,” Krstic said of the Nets’ refusal. “I was happy with the way it worked out.” … Devin Harris returned for the Nets after missing three of the past four games with a sore right hamstring. … With Yi Jianlian sidelined four to six weeks with a broken figure, Nets rookie Ryan Anderson got his first NBA start after not playing the previous four games. … The Nets improved to 5-1 in overtime, 2-0 at home. The Thunder are 1-1 in overtime.