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SPENCER DINWIDDIE HITS GAME-WINNER TO LIFT NETS PAST DETROIT, 101-100

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Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

“If your first job fired you, and you came back and was like, ‘What’s up, fam; I’m with (my dream job) now.’ I love everybody in the organization, it’s just great to beat them,”

—Spencer Dinwiddie to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press last March.

He just got the last laugh.

After leading all throughout the afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets saw their lead disappear with less than two minutes remaining. Once up 15, the Nets were now down one. Then, in the final seconds, Andre Drummond took Caris LeVert to the hole and gave the Pistons their first lead since 12-10 with 4.7 seconds left.

No problem, the Nets went to the NBA’s leading clutch shot maker (see below) ... that same Spencer Dinwiddie who wanted revenge.

Dinwiddie made his way into the paint with two Pistons to get by. He pump faked, hesitated and adjusted his shot mid-air to get it over Drummond, giving Brooklyn a 101-100 lead with 0.9 seconds.

The Pistons were out of timeouts and turned it over on the inbounds. The Nets win, and Dinwiddie gets the last laugh over his former team. The last time these two teams faced off, the Nets lost by 34 on their home court.

FINAL: 101-100.

Dinwiddie finished with a team-high 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds. This would mark his third game-winning shot this season, the last two coming against the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, then scored eight of Brooklyn’s final 12 points in their most recent victory over the Miami Heat. He has undoubtedly become Brooklyn’s go-to guy in the late stages of game.

Oh, and it was his 12th game with 20 or more points this season.

D’Angelo Russell watched from the bench, due to a minutes restriction following his knee surgery. He hit a three-pointer, going 1-of-5.

The Nets have won two straight games and improved their record to 18-29 on the season. They’ve won eight road games this season, topping their total of seven all throughout last season. The Pistons, meanwhile, have lost five straight.

“I’m not sure two months ago we get this win. I’m not sure we had the poise and the understanding to get a win like this,” Kenny Atkinson said. “We’ve been in some close games that we haven’t pulled out. It’s a credit to the players. There’s growth there.”

Here’s how it went…

The last time these two teams faced off, Detroit led by 22 at half. It was a much different story on Sunday.

The Nets played some of their most balanced basketball of the season in the first half. They outscored the Pistons by 12 inside the paint and hit 6-of-14 from deep as 10 different players registered at least one field goal.

They were less predictable and let the game flow dictate their pace. Their defense was much better too, particularly on Andre Drummond, who scored just one point in the half on 0-of-4 shooting.

The balanced attack, led by DeMarre Carroll, gave them a five-point halftime lead – nine by the end of the third. It snapped a nine-game streak of games in which the Nets were tied or trailed through 3 quarters. Last time they had a lead entering the fourth? New Year’s Day.

Tobias Harris (20 points) and Stanley Johnson (18 points) took matters into their own hands and brought the deficit down to one following an 11-3 run to start the quarter. Then, Ish Smith tied the game with a 3-pointer with less than three minutes on the clock.

We officially had a game on our hands.

The Nets led 100-99 as Detroit owned possession. Drummond got a mis-match on LeVert and took him to the hole, lifting Detroit up one with 4.7 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Dinwiddie hit the game-winner.

A big key in this game was containing Drummond, who had finished with 22 points and 20 rebounds the last time these teams played on another. Drummond picked up his fourth foul early in the third and the Nets took advantage. He finished the night with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.

All 11 of Brooklyn’s players that logged time scored at least one field goal. It was a balanced attack in which they shot 46 percent from the field -- 42 percent from three.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the charge with 21 points, eight rebounds and a career-high tying seven assists. Carroll was all over the place with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

And what did he have to say after the game about beating the team that drafted him?

”Let’s just be real here. I start my career off here, for lack of a better word I was essentially cut. So how would y’all feel?”

***

The Nets do these things. They seem to make every single game a nail biter, whether they’re on the comeback or they’re the ones preventing a comeback. Regardless, they’re learning how to win these tight games down the stretch.

It’s everything they stand for: working hard, improving and development. It isn’t all about right now, but they’ve given plenty of reasons to feel comfortable about them in the future.

And hey, it doesn’t hurt that they’re only six games back in the loss column and only three behind the Knicks.