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Nets show ‘Brooklyn grit’ identity late, defeat Mavericks, 109-104

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets didn’t win their eighth game until December 26 last season. The same with the 2015-16 team. They notched their eighth win of the season, Wednesday, in the final game of November.

The win came against the 5-17 Dallas Mavericks, 109-104, behind the grit and grind of DeMarre Carroll in the third quarter, then Trevor Booker in the fourth.

The Nets played without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle), Allen Crabbe (back) and D’Angelo Russell (knee), but they weathered the storm and managed to win this game with their effort alone. No excuses. They just keep playing ball.

They’ll head home with a 2-1 record on this mini 3-game road-trip, 8-13 overall. Improvement.

The game was tight all throughout the first half, but the Nets trailed for the first 15 minutes of the game. They grabbed a 44-40 lead following an 11-2 run, 48-47 lead at half. The Nets allowed just 20 points in the second quarter, the fewest they’ve allowed in a second quarter this season.

The teams seesawed in the third quarter and the Nets led by four entering the fourth. Carroll did everything the Nets needed him to do with such a depleted roster. He kept Brooklyn afloat with his hot shooting, and scored 15 of his 22 points in the third quarter.

The Nets carried some of it over in the fourth quarter and gained their largest lead of the night at seven with four minutes on the clock.

Dallas stayed within six with two minutes remaining, but Trevor Booker grabbed a crucial offensive board – and put-back – to bring Brooklyn’s lead up to eight. It was a preview to how Brooklyn would seal this victory.

Dallas answered with a 7-0 run as Brooklyn went scoreless for a minute and 22 seconds. Suddenly, the Nets led by two with 10 seconds remaining with Joe Harris at the line. Harris missed the second free throw and Booker tapped it out for the offensive board.

Spencer Dinwiddie was sent to the line and missed both free throws, but Booker grabbed ANOTHER offensive rebound. This time, Dinwiddie sealed the deal.

“That’s what I do,” Booker told Michael Grady after the game.

“Booker knows we’re going to miss the free throws, so he’s going to go all out to get those offensive rebounds,” Atkinson told beat writers post-game, only half-joking. “He saved the game.”

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle added, “What Booker did to us on the boards was robbery. He really singlehandedly took the game from us there at the end.”

Booker scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, to go along with 10 rebounds (three offensive). Dinwiddie dropped 19 points and six assists with just one turnover. Harris scored 11 points – his fifth straight game in double figures.

For Dallas, Harrison Barnes led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Both the Nets and Mavericks shot an identical 46 percent from the field, but Brooklyn shot 38 percent from deep. The Nets also owned a 12-point advantage inside the paint.

They almost - key word almost - lost themselves the game at the free throw line, where they shot 14-of-25. They rank 22nd in the NBA for free throw percentage at 73.6 percent per game.


The Brooklyn Nets waived Yogi Ferrell on December 8 of 2016 so they could bring up Dinwiddie from the Windy City Bulls. Many questioned the decision, but Dinwiddie has been an anchor for the Nets this season, keeping them afloat despite missing Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell for much of the way. Dinwiddie finished with 19 points and six assists, while Ferrell finished with eight points and five rebounds (2-of-7 shooting). He was not a factor.


For a third consecutive game, the Nets played without Allen Crabbe who was out with a “sore lower back.” The Nets never specified what the injury was or how it happened. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a game-time decision but sat with a right ankle sprain from Saturday’s game against Memphis. The Nets used their 12th different starting lineup.


Considering how banged up the Nets really are this season, it’s been very impressive how they’ve been able to weather the storm and stay persistent. It's usually pretty easy to decide who the heart and soul of a team is. Not with the Nets. They have so many guys that play their absolute hardest every single night.

The Nets are 8-13 on the season and will come home to play a struggling Atlanta Hawks team in a home-and-home. It will be the start of a good month for Brooklyn, where they will play eight of the next 10 games at home. However, two of those eight will be in Mexico City.


For a different perspective, head on over to Mavs MoneyBall.