By Larry Fine
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Jordan Farmar sank a last-second three-pointer to lift the New Jersey Nets to a 101-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday as the visitors missed a chance to leapfrog city rivals the Lakers.
The Nets, who were just 3-13 at home this season, forged an 18-point advantage in the third quarter and held off a fierce fightback by the Clippers, led by high-flying forward Blake Griffin and hot-shooting guard Randy Foye,to score the upset.
Trailing 71-53 with a little more than a quarter remaining, the Clippers clawed their way back and took their first lead since early in the game when Chris Paul sank two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining to put Los Angeles ahead, 100-98.
Farmar's clutch three-pointer, off a spot-on bounce pass from Deron Wiliams, deprived the Clippers (22-15) a chance of taking the Pacific Division lead from the Lakers (23-16), who were upset 106-101 by the Washington Wizards after squandering a 21-point third-quarter lead.
"What a great pass by Deron," Nets coach Avery Johnson told reporters. "What a great on-time, on target pass, and Jordan probably made the biggest shot this year for us."
Point guard Williams led the Nets (13-27) with 21 points, while Griffin paced the Clippers with 28 points, including three resounding dunks in the third quarter, while Foye added 24.
Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul suggested the team may have been guilty of taking the Nets lightly.
"It was a lack of urgency, a lack of defensive intensity," said Paul, who scored 22 points and registered 10 assists. "We were giving up everything, threes, layups , fouls. We fought an uphill battle."
Paul said the Clippers had to get into gear in order to make a splash in the playoffs.
"In the Western Conference, you can go from the third seed to the eighth seed in one week," he said. "We've got to get some wins because everyone is gaining on us."
Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said: "I'm happy with the way the guys fought, (but) it's frustrating to put ourselves in that position and not be able to execute when we needed to.
"It's a tough loss for us."
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by John O'Brien)