Nets topple Carmelo Anthony, Thunder in Mexico City shocker

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MEXICO CITY — Apparently Brooklyn grit carries all the way to Mexico.

The Nets pulled out a come-from-behind 100-95 win over the Thunder in front of a sellout crowd of 20,562 at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on Thursday night.

The fans cheered and roared as if it were Club America versus Cruz Azul, but they were cheering for the gritty young Nets, who improved to 10-14 and snapped the Thunder’s three-game winning streak behind a career night from Caris LeVert.

Oklahoma City (11-13) played without Paul George, but MVP Russell Westbrook poured in a game-high 31 points. The Nets made sure it wasn’t enough. Former Knick Carmelo Anthony had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.

Meanwhile, the Nets rallied again. They trailed by as many as 15, and 79-71 late in the third. But LeVert, who had career-highs of 21 points and 10 assists with no turnovers, sparked a 22-6 run that stretched into the fourth. That spurt ended up being the difference, flipping an eight-point deficit into an eight-point cushion after Spencer Dinwiddie’s corner 3-pointer put the Nets ahead 93-85.

Caris Levert, who scored 21 points, drives on Russell Westbrook.AP

“We’re at a point in our season where we’re improving, getting better,” said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, whose team spent much of the night playing from behind.

They trailed 40-25 in the second quarter, and 58-49 at the break with Dinwiddie foul-plagued and limited to just 6:22 first-half minutes. But LeVert had 13 points and six assists by halftime to keep them in contact.

The Nets stormed out of the locker room with a 12-2 run to go ahead 61-60. They still led 71-70 with 3:14 left in the third after LeVert found Allen Crabbe for a 3-pointer.

That’s when Brooklyn coughed up a 9-0 run, with Raymond Felton’s 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the period sinking them into a 79-71 hole.

The Nets seemed destined for another collapse, but responded with a 13-2 run of their own, capped by Jarrett Allen’s dunk off a LeVert feed for an 84-81 lead they never surrendered.

They still led 87-85 after Crabbe’s 3-pointer, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson beat the buzzer with a right corner trey to make it 90-85. Dinwiddie drilled a corner 3 from the same spot and got barreled into by Andre Roberson for a 93-85 cushion with 5:38 left, and his dunk with less than two minutes remaining was the exclamation point.

The Nets, who play the Heat on Saturday in Mexico City, have won four of their last six. They didn’t get their 10th victory last season until March 1, in their 59th game.

Source : https://nypost.com/2017/12/08/nets-topple-carmelo-anthony-thunder-in-mexico-city-shocker/

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