BROOKLYN, N.Y. (ABC4 Sports) – Down 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz almost pulled off a miraculous comeback, but came up short against the Brooklyn Nets Sunday, 111-110.
Utah has now lost six of its last seven games, but remain a game and a half out of the play-in tournament with four game to play.
Mikal Bridges had 30 points and seven rebounds, while Spencer Dinwiddie had 17 points and 12 assists, his eighth double-double in 23 games for Brooklyn.
Talen Horton-Tucker scored 32 points and Lauri Markkanen had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz. Rookie Ochai Agbaji had 19 points.
Horton-Tucker scored 15 in the fourth and Utah outscored Brooklyn 42-26 in the quarter. The Jazz used a 26-8 run to cut Brooklyn’s lead to one and had a chance to win after Seth Curry missed two free throws, but Kelly Olynyk’s jumper at the buzzer went long.
“I love the competitiveness,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “I thought the guys dug in, stuck with it when they very easily could’ve folded at different times in the game.”
“We showed what the team is made of,” said Markkanen. “We played hard, and how much were we down? 23? And we get a shot for the win. That’s impressive. There are no moral victories, and we want to win every game. It’s a frustrating loss but we did what we’ve been doing the whole year.”
Cam Johnson scored 18 points as the Nets won for the fourth time in their past five games, opening a two-game lead over Miami for the No. 6 seed and dipping their magic number to two to clinch the last guaranteed playoff spot in the East.
Brooklyn led by 11 at halftime, then outscored Utah 28-15 over a span of 10 1/2 minutes between the third and fourth quarters to build a 23-point lead. Bridges had 17 of his 19 second-half points in the third quarter.
“We were really moving the basketball,” Vaughn said. “Mikal had a good stretch where he was able to convert for us, but (Claxton) was getting to the rim for us, (Dinwiddie) was getting downhill. It was kind of spread throughout the team, which was a good thing.”
“I didn’t want (Horton-Tucker) or (Markkanen) taking that last shot,” Bridges said. “You can’t control that, just was hoping they wouldn’t get an opportunity. I was hoping for a stop.”
Markkanen, who leads the Jazz by averaging 25.7 points per game, started just 2 for 8 from the field and was held scoreless until the 7:21 mark of the second quarter.
“You want to try to get the ball out of the hands of the guys that are designed to make plays,” Dinwiddie said. “You want the other guys beating you.”
Brooklyn held Utah to just 42 first-half points, the second-fewest of any first half this season, and the Jazz made just 8 of 32 3-pointers in the game.
“A really tough night shooting from the perimeter,” Hardy said. “Even when we were able to find 3-point looks we weren’t able to knock them down tonight.”
Brooklyn made 13 of its first 25 shots, including four of its first seven 3-pointers, and used a 20-5 run to build a 34-19 second-quarter lead.
Walker Kessler (head) left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, and did not return. Forward Rudy Gay (lower back) missed his sixth straight game, and guards Jordan Clarkson (left ring finger) and Collin Sexton (left hamstring) were also inactive. With one Sunday, Markkanen added to his NBA record for single-season 3-pointers among 7-footers (200)
The Jazz next host the Lakers on Tuesday