Dinwiddie’s gem helps Nets come from behind to stun 76ers

Dinwiddie’s gem helps Nets come from behind to stun 76ers

December 13, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — The best game of Spencer Dinwiddie’s life carried the Nets to their best winning streak of the season.

Dinwiddie was the engine that drove the Nets’ come-from-behind 127-124 victory over the 76ers before a sellout crowd of 20,376 at Wells Fargo Center. He got hot and burned Philadelphia for 39 points, feeling like Steph Curry and — for a night — doing a pretty good imitation.

“If I had two 3s in a row, I feel like Steph,” said Dinwiddie, whose 39 points were a career-high and most by a Net this season. “I hit a couple 3s, boy, I tell you I felt like I was 6-foot-3 and light skinned. I wasn’t about to stop shooting after that.”

The Nets are lucky he didn’t. Dinwiddie hit 11-of-18 from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He attacked the Sixers’ switches aggressively all night, going 13-of-14 from the free-throw line and dominating the pivotal third quarter.

With the Nets trailing 72-68 with 6 ½ minutes left in the third, Dinwiddie had 15 points in a 24-7 run that turned the game.

“It’s just so evident, you can’t take him out and he’s playing great basketball,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Obviously, he’s our engine right now, especially in the second half.”

Dinwiddie spurred the Nets (11-18) to a third straight victory, matching their longest streak of the season. Considering this stretch started with a players-only film session that has been followed by wins over the NBA-leading Raptors, rival Knicks, and a Sixers team that’s third in the Eastern Conference, the Nets are hopeful they have turned a corner.

“The bigger thing is we won the game, so that’s what makes this more special than anything. Anybody can score and lose, so scoring and winning is a testament of better playing and a great team, so thank you to my guys,” said Dinwiddie, who was hopeful Brooklyn is building legitimate momentum.

Spencer Dinwiddie shoots in the lane.NBAE/Getty Images
“We certainly hope so. The film session really enhanced the communication and made us talk a little more and just work through a couple things player to player. … You have to be in unison as a group.”

The Nets were in unison offensively, torching the Sixers in pick-and-rolls and getting downhill at will for drives or kick-outs. They shot 51.4 percent from the field and 14-of-28 from 3-point range, getting 20 points from Allen Crabbe.

Yes, it came against a Philadelphia team that didn’t have Jimmy Butler, who had beaten the Nets in their last meeting with a last-ditch winner. He missed Wednesday with a groin injury, but the Nets will take any win they can get.

Surprisingly, they have played Philadelphia well. After cracking 120 points just twice in their other 26 games, the Nets have done it in all three meetings with the Sixers. And they needed all that offense to withstand Joel Embiid, who had 33 points and 17 rebounds.

Down 72-68 after a Wilson Chandler 3-pointer, the Nets responded with a 24-7 spurt, including 13 straight at one point. Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer with 3:46 left in the third quarter put them ahead 81-75. Crabbe’s corner 3 and another 3 by Dinwiddie pushed the lead to 87-75 with 2:24 left in the third.

T.J. McConnell temporarily broke the Sixers’ drought with a baseline fade, but Jarrett Allen scored and Dinwiddie drilled another 3 to put the Nets ahead 92-79 with a minute left in the third. They held the 76ers at bay in the fourth.

The Nets’ lead shriveled to 123-118 with 22.9 seconds remaining, but this time there was no late collapse. Fittingly, it was Dinwiddie who iced it at the free-throw line.

“Experience is the best teacher,” Joe Harris said. “You can practice it until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually are in these situations, have a feel of the game and have to add a level of confidence just to be able to finish it out. It’s beneficial for us, especially for a young group to have these late-game experiences. Obviously, we were on the other end of it a few times, but now we’ve slowly started to gradually gain speed over the hump.”

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