BEIJING (AP) — Mirza Teletovic scored 22 points to lead the Nets to a 129-117 overtime preseason victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, as Brooklyn swept a pair of exhibition games in China between the teams.
The Nets were ahead 112-109 with 41 seconds left when the Kings’ Omri Caspi drained a 3-pointer. On the next play, Mason Plumlee’s pass to Willie Reed slipped through his hands, sending the game into overtime.
Coach Lionel Hollins credited Deron Williams for “getting us revved up and in rhythm” after the Nets fell behind going into the third quarter.
“And then everybody picked up their energy and then we started pushing the ball and scoring. They couldn’t stop us,” Hollins said. “I’m proud of the way the young guys played. I’m proud of the way our team competed. They are growing in that area of competitiveness and toughness and trying to wear down the other team.”
Plumlee scored 18 points off the bench and center Brook Lopez added 16. Ben McLemore led the Kings with 22 points. Both teams rested some key players to keep them fresh and healthy for the final preseason games back in the U.S, with Hollins keeping out Kevin Garnett and the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins sitting with a sore Achilles.
Teletovic has been the star of the China tour, sinking a 3-pointer with less than a minute left to seal the 97-95 win over the Kings on Sunday in Shanghai.
“We did some good things offensively,” Kings coach Mike Malone said. “We competed. We played hard, but we just have to do a much better job on defense to have a chance to win in the very difficult Western Conference.”
The game was played at the Mastercard Center in western Beijing built to host the 2008 Olympic basketball tournament won by the United States. Celebrity guests included Shaquille O’Neil and Yao Ming, both of whom drew huge cheers when appearing courtside.
This year marks a decade since the first NBA exhibition games in China, part of an effort to build the league’s brand while giving teams a chance to bond and experience a different culture.
China has grown increasingly important to the NBA as it sees its international revenues nearing its domestic ones. The NBA boasts 70 million followers on China’s popular microblogging platforms, largely drawn from the 300 million Chinese who play basketball.
The league’s China revenues have soared past $100 million annually with sales of merchandise and licensing agreements. Along with NBA games shown on monopoly state broadcaster CCTV, they’re now also streamed on top Chinese Internet portals.