The Splash Brothers were filling up the pool at a brisk pace, quickly sending the Nets into the deep end and creating a sinking feeling.
The Nets were, after all, facing the team with the league's longest winning streak, a Warriors squad that had reeled off 10 victories in a row. Throw in that Brooklyn was shorthanded yet again with Deron Williams sitting out a second straight game as he tries to get his ankles back in order, and it had the makings of a blowout, particularly when Golden State scored 32 points in the first quarter, swishing 6 of 8 three-point shots.
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All it did was pave the way for a vintage Kevin Garnett performance.
Garnett left his imprints all over the fourth quarter, igniting the Nets on both sides of the ball to propel them to a seemingly unthinkable 102-98 win at the Barclays Center Wednesday night.
Joe Johnson paced the Nets (14-21), who've won four straight, with 27 points, but it was Garnett who took control in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the quarter, going 4-for-6 from the field and draining all three free throws. He also had a key steal on a late, ill-advised pass by Stephen Curry, who led the Warriors (24-14) with 34 points, and also swatted one of Curry's shots.
"Offensively and defensively, he was off the charts tonight," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "But defensively, he's been incredible for us since that Oklahoma game [a victory last Thursday]. It looks like he's 25 and tonight, offensively, it looked like he was 21."
It was Garnett's best fourth quarter of the season, and the 37-year-old was in old-school form, canning his first four attempts of the quarter.
"I'm understanding more and more of what obviously Jason needs out of me and I'm just trying to do the best job at that," Garnett said. "J. called some plays for me. Like I said, I work on my craft every day, so I expect it to be a certain way. When I go to dial her up, I want her to pick the phone up. So tonight I dialed and she was right there answering up like she's supposed to. But honestly, I work really hard on my craft and tonight I was able to get into a nice little groove and some shots fell."
Paul Pierce was pleased to see his buddy finally get it going, netting double figures for only the sixth time this season.
"It was good," said Pierce who had 11 points. "We made an effort to give him the ball in the post, and he had a favorable matchup, and he made some big shots for us. But the key to this win was the way we defended all night long after the first quarter."
After watching Golden State nail 61.9 percent of its shots in the first quarter, the Nets dug in defensively. They held the Warriors to 23-for-57 shooting the rest of the way, giving them some feel-good vibes heading into their matchup with the Heat Friday night.
"We want to just continue to finish off this homestand and that's the last team [and] the best team in the NBA in my opinion until somebody knocks them off," Pierce said. "It's another challenge for us. We've just got to stay humble, keep building on what we are doing right now and continue to defend."