Nic Claxton’s block party was huge Nets spark

BOSTON — Nic Claxton may have been one of only two Nets not to score a point Sunday, but he scored a huge bounce-back performance in their 141-126 Game 4 win in Boston.

After getting outplayed by Tristan Thompson two days earlier, Claxton came off the bench with a career-high four blocks and finished a plus-14 in just eight minutes.

“That’s what he does,” James Harden said. “He’s active. He protects our rim. He rebounds the ball. Offensively, he sets screens, and he finishes around the basket. He did exactly his job. Only playing eight minutes, but he’s always ready.

“Great job for Nic. It’s only eight minutes, I’m sure he wanted to play more but overall goal is to win, and tonight was big for us.”

Claxton came off the bench and sparked an 11-4 spurt — part of a greater 23-10 run that spanned the first and second quarters and changed the game.

Nic Claxton (l.) played a big role defensively for the Nets on Sunday night.
NBAE via Getty Images

“I thought he was really active and disruptive, and he was really positive for us tonight, so hopefully it’s something we can build on,” head coach Steve Nash said.

With Jeff Green injured in the Game 3 loss at TD Garden, Claxton and Blake Griffin struggled to match Thompson’s physicality, rebounding and aggressiveness. Despite being younger and 40 pounds lighter than Thompson, Claxton has to grow up quick against the Celtics — the same team his father Charles used to play for.

“I’m just glad he’s getting the opportunity, and he’s just taking full advantage of it,” Charles Claxton told The Post. “He’s a little wet behind the ears, kind of learning on the fly. But he’s willing to give it his all. Hopefully, the end result will be great.”

Charles was a big man (7-foot, 265 pounds) whose only NBA appearances came for Boston in 1995, before being waived that Nov. 27. On Sunday, Nic helped the Nets take a 3-1 first-round series lead back home for Tuesday’s Game 5.

“Yeah, Tristan is real physical. Nicolas has to match his physicality,” his father said. “He might be a little bigger and stronger, but you have to just go out there and fight, and fight. Usually, good things happen.”

To win Game 4, the Nets had to overcome not only the Celtics but a crowd of 17,226. It’s the biggest crowd they’d faced since playing before 18,997 at Staples Center on March 10, 2020, the day before the NBA season was suspended due to COVID-19.

In addition to Green and Spencer Dinwiddie (ACL), Alize Johnson (left ankle sprain) was out for the Nets.

The Nets’ Game 5 against Boston on Tuesday at Barclays Center will air live on PIX11 at 7:30 p.m. and will also be streamed live on the YES App.

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates, the celebrity gossip site and the entertainment site

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