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NETS RIDE DINWIDDIE, TAKE DOWN LEBRON AND CAVS, 112-107

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NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — “We’ve struggled over the last few years in Brooklyn. Teams are used to coming in and taking nights off,” D’Angelo Russell told NetsDaily over the summer.

Russell didn’t play in this game, nor did Jeremy Lin, but the gritty Brooklyn Nets took down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 112-107, Wednesday night at Barclays Center. The Nets fought off a 29-point triple-double performance from LeBron James and won with their balanced attack and pace and space offense.

“They shoot the long ball and they shoot it,” LeBron James said of the Nets’ style of player. “They shot 46 three’s I believe. They’re just playing free, free of mind, that’s exactly how they are playing. They’re moving it, they’re sharing it and that’s good ball.”

“They let it fly. They drive the ball, drive-and-kick and then play up-tempo. They use it as a weapon and showed that tonight,” said Kevin Love about the Nets.

The Nets led by 11 entering the fourth quarter, but LeBron James woke up and brought the Cavs back. Behind his lead, the Cavs tied the game at 100 apiece with two minutes remaining.

The Nets and Cavs exchanged three-pointers two possessions in a row. Spencer Dinwiddie hit the big one, though, and put Brooklyn up by two with less than 45 seconds left.

On the following possession, Dinwiddie pushed the ball up the floor and assisted to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to put Brooklyn up by four.

The Cavs had a chance to tie the game down three, but they committed their 21st turnover of the night and Brooklyn – more specifically Spencer Dinwiddie – sealed the deal at the line.

Dinwiddie finished with a career-high 22 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds. He hit the big shot the Nets were unable to hit last year. We caught up with him before the game where his word showed the confidence in his game:

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed for the role I have here in Brooklyn. But I don’t wake up when we play LeBron or anybody any say, ‘oh wow this is crazier than my wildest dreams.’ I’ve played ‘Bron before many times. I’ve never guarded him personally, but I’ve played the Cavs many times before. It’s another NBA game.”

“He did a great job... next man up. You just have to be ready,” said Carroll of Dinwiddie’s opportunity. “He always was a true professional, came in every day and got his work done, took care of his body, and it is paying off.”

The Cavs outscored the Nets 34-28 in the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn prevailed. James had 13 assists and 10 rebounds to go along with the 29 points.

It’s the first time the Nets have won their first three at home since the 2002-2003 season.

“I enjoy stopping the LeBron Jameses, the Kevin Durants of the league. These guys got to do the same,” Carroll said at media day. Basically, we’ve got to show the world and show the NBA that we’re not last year’s Brooklyn team. We’re a new era.”

Brooklyn’s bench scored 43 points and were led by Crabbe who nailed three crucial 3-pointers in the second half for a total of four. Joe Harris chipped in 11 with three 3-pointers as well.

“We’re not the same team that we were last year. We have a new mindset this year and guys want to win, everybody from one to 15 on the roster. Everybody’s ready, everybody works had, so when opportunity comes up, guys are ready to step up and play,”Allen Crabbe said of the bounce-back win.

The Nets forced 21 turnovers and eight turnovers from LeBron James alone. They used a collective effort to cover him, switching different bodies on and off him. It worked well enough.

DeMarre Carroll finished with a season-high 18 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a season-high 19 as well. Allen Crabbe had 19, one short of his season-high.

The Nets nailed 17 3-pointers on the night – their highest in fives games thus far.

And so, they’re 3-2. Nets fans enjoy this. It’s a whole lot of fun.

KUDOS TO KENNY & STAFF

"Hats off to Kenny [Atkinson]. If he didn't come in today and get on us like he did, I think we probably wouldn't have showed up," DeMarre Carroll said after the game.

"That's a shot I work with Adam Harrington, my player development coach,” Spencer Dinwiddie said of his big shot. He complimented the coaching staff all throughout his post-game interview. Listen below.

For a different perspective on the game, visit Fear the Sword.