It was extra laborious work than murals.

However the Nets and Mikal Bridges gutted out a 111-110 victory over Utah earlier than a sellout crowd of 17,732 at Barclays Heart.

After seeing a 23-point cushion shrivel to only a level within the waning seconds — due to lacking their remaining three free throws within the final 10 seconds — they survived Kelly Olynyk’s runner on the buzzer.

“We obtained fortunate,” Spencer Dinwiddie stated.

The Nets (43-35) have received three straight, and 4 of 5 to rebound properly from a season-worst five-game dropping skid.

They lead the seventh-place Miami Warmth by two full video games — and the head-to-head tiebreaker — for the sixth and remaining assured playoff spot within the Japanese Convention.

With 4 video games left, that spot — and a possible first-round matchup with the third-place Philadelphia 76ers — is starting to look increasingly possible.

So is Bridges’ candidacy for Most Improved Participant.

Bridges poured in a team-high 30 factors and 7 rebounds, outperforming Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, the front-runner for the award.

Mikal Bridges of the Nets (1) shoots throughout a recreation in opposition to the Jazz on April 2, 2023.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Publish

“I simply have a look at has Mikal been in a position to enhance as a participant? Sure. On each ends of the ground? Sure. Can he nonetheless get higher? Sure,” Jacque Vaughn stated. “There’s some issues he’s doing greater than he’s beforehand completed, which is enchancment. We wish to proceed to see his enchancment. … How a lot enchancment he’s made, I’m unsure; however he can get higher and he has gotten higher.”

Dorian Finney-Smith helped Bridges in holding Markkanen to 23 factors on 8 of 21 capturing.

In the meantime, Bridges topped 30 for the third time in 4 video games. He shot 11 of 13 from the free throw line, a profession excessive for makes an attempt.

“He’s a hell of a participant, he’s a hell of a expertise,” Utah coach Will Hardy stated. “He developed rather well whereas he was in Phoenix. You’re beginning to see him do extra off the dribble now that he’s been in Brooklyn. At his age and Lauri being as younger as he’s, each these guys have fairly excessive ceilings and can proceed to get higher as they get constant alternative.”

After a back-and-forth recreation throughout the early levels, the Nets edged forward and stayed there.

Nets forward Cameron Johnson (2) drives against Jazz guard Kris Dunn (11) during the first half on Sunday.
Nets ahead Cameron Johnson (2) drives in opposition to Jazz guard Kris Dunn (11) throughout the first half on Sunday.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Publish

Clinging to a 15-14 edge after Talen Horton-Tucker (game-high 32) hit a midrange fadeaway with 5:07 left within the first quarter, Brooklyn took management with a fast 11-1 run and by no means gave it again.

The Nets held the Jazz to a few straight misses and a turnover, a Luka Samanic cost.

Bridges capped the run with a 3-pointer off a feed from pal Cam Johnson that ran the result in 26-15 with 2:52 remaining within the first.

The Nets finally padded their cushion to fifteen within the second.

Seth Curry got here off the bench and hit a 22-foot step-back off a Royce O’Neale feed to make it 32-17 with 11:27 left within the half.

And Nic Claxton’s turnaround financial institution shot on the very subsequent journey downcourt pushed it again to 34-19.

A Dinwiddie eurostep and-one gave the Nets a 71-55 lead.

He adopted Bridges in initiating contact and searching fouls, and it labored.

Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker (0) shoots between Nets center Day'Ron Sharpe (20) and forward Royce O'Neale (00) during the first half on Sunday.
Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker (0) shoots between Nets heart Day’Ron Sharpe (20) and ahead Royce O’Neale (00) throughout the first half on Sunday.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Publish

Yuta Watanabe drilled a right-corner 3-pointer to make it 91-70, then arrange Day’Ron Sharpe’s bucket to push the result in 93-70 with 9:51 to play.

Vaughn could have pulled his starters a bit too early.

Markkanen reduce via the lane to slash the result in 103-97 with two minutes left, and a Horton-Tucker layup made it 103-99.

However Dinwiddie stemmed the tide.

He could have gotten away with a push-off to create house, and hit a midrange floater with 1:21 to play.

It was 110-105 after Cam Johnson’s free throws with 14.1 seconds left, and Ochai Agbaji drilled a 3-pointer.

The Jazz fouled Dinwiddie and he made simply certainly one of two on the stripe, giving Utah a chance.

Horton-Tucker obtained to the road and sank each, reducing Brooklyn’s result in 111-110 with 7.9 seconds in regulation.

Curry had an opportunity to ice it from the road and shockingly missed each with 5.8 seconds on the clock. However the Nets compelled Olynyk to overlook a runner on the buzzer to outlive.