If you’ve never really heard of the name Royce O’Neale, one couldn’t blame you. A steady veteran presence with six years of experience, five of them spent quietly in Utah with the Jazz, had the signature moment of his brief Nets career.
With Clay Thompson draped over Kyrie Irving, the Nets All-Star kicked it out to a wide open O’Neeale, who happened to be standing perfectly behind the arc. With the Nets trailing 116-115 with 27 seconds and counting to go, O’Neale took the pass and dropped the game winning three-pointer to stun the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Nets would win by four points, 120-116.
ROYCE O'NEALE FOR THREE 🔥— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023
NETS LEAD 118-116 WITH 27 SECONDS LEFT
WATCH: https://t.co/WjxYAo0Ivs pic.twitter.com/YYJtj19AFW
“Kyrie had been getting to the basket, hitting tough shots and at that moment, he drove, two people double-teamed and he found me open,” O’Neale said. “I just needed to have the confidence to knock it down.”
“I felt like my teammates had a lot of great looks, drawing the defense, drawing two, three to lose their man,” added Irving. “Royce being wide open, I felt like that was the best shot for our team so I gave up the ball, trusted him to make it and luckily it went in.”
The Nets victory was made more improbable by the fact that they stormed back from a 106-93 deficit with a little over six minutes to go to win the game. That means over the final six minutes Brooklyn outscored Golden State 27-10.
Meanwhile across the border in Toronto, the Knicks dropped their fourth in a row, 125-116. The Knicks played the Raptors three times in the last 16 days posting a record of 1-2 against them.
Fred VanVleet once again went off on New York, leading Toronto with 28 points. Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. each netted 24 points for the Raptors.