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DINWIDDIE HITS GO-AHEAD BUCKET TO NOTCH VICTORY OVER T’WOLVES, 98-97

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Spencer Dinwiddie! #NBAVOTE!

IT’S A REAL THING.

The Nets were in another close game down the stretch Wednesday, down by one with a possession. Instead of pulling up for a deep 3-pointer, as he has, Dinwiddie drove to the hole and put home a mid-ranger to put Brooklyn up one over Minnesota with 9.7 seconds left. Jimmy Butler let the clock wind down on the final possession, but missed as time expired. Thank you, DeMarre Carroll.

Final: Brooklyn 98, Timberwolves 97.

“It was the same switch situation. He was trying to limit the pull up three. He was pretty close, so that’s why I went to drive,” said Dinwiddie of his shot selection.

“He hit some big shots. I mean tough shots,” Atkinson emphasized after the game.

“We did all the little things and that’s what we’re searching for,” Atkinson said discussing the team’s performance. “I said it the other night, more consistency defensively, so to do it again tonight when we’re definitely not cliquing offensively, I thought it was a good job by our guys.”

The Nets are now 10-0 when holding opponents under 100 points and remain undefeated in 2018. They’ve also won two straight for the first time in over a month and three out of the last four.

Dinwiddie finished the night with career high tying 26 points and nine assists in 36 minutes. On the other side of the Barclays Center court, Jimmy Butler finished with 30 on 16-of-18 at the free throw line.

It wasn’t the prettiest opening half for either team, but the Nets prevailed with a 48-43 lead, capped off by a 3-pointer from Dinwiddie as time expired.

The trio of Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns kept the motor going for Minnesota, as they led Brooklyn by two entering the fourth. It looked like Tom Thibodeau went with them for too long as they were noticeably fatigued down the stretch. Still, they continued to grind down the stretch.

And so, it was all knotted up at 94 apiece with 1:22 remaining, but thanks to a clutch bucket from Dinwiddie, the Nets were able to walk away with a win.

The Nets shot 14-of-30 from 3-point and 51.4 percent overall on the night, with five coming in the fourth. They committed 19 turnovers resulting in 24 points, but out-rebounded Minnesota by six despite playing undersized all night. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, finished with one 3-pointer ... but only eight turnovers.

Playing without Caris LeVert, the Nets needed someone to step up off the bench. It was done by committee, but Joe Harris stole the show with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

JAH FREED!

Jahlil Okafor made his Barclays Center debut at the beginning of the second quarter and received a sitting ovation from the crowd (After that, it was a bit anticlimactic). Okafor scored his first bucket at the 8:55 mark when he caught the ball at the elbow, hesitated, then took it straight to the hole.

An interesting thing to keep in mind: Kenny Atkinson started Okafor off with Quincy Acy in the frontcourt to keep the spacing where it needs to be. Okafor finished the night two points and two rebounds in 11 minutes. After the game, Atkinson praised Okafor for his defense in particular.

“It was exciting just to be playing in front of the home crowd,” Okafor said post-game. “It was a lot of fun. It was my first time in a while because when I played with Philly for a long time I was in Toronto, Utah. And then when I played with Brooklyn, I played in Toronto, so to finally play in front of a supportive crowd, it was a good feeling.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RONDAE!!

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson turned 23-years-old on Wednesday and finished with 10 points and five rebounds. The Nets traded Mason Plumlee to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 23rd pick in the draft, which turned out to be Hollis-Jefferson. The charismatic teen showed off his joyous energy in the locker room that night, singing and dancing after the Nets traded for him.

He is the longest tenured Net – the last from the Billy King regime (and the last to practice in East Rutherford). His character and potential impressed King, and then Sean Marks. Now, he’s one of Brooklyn’s featured players in the rebuild.

Some highlights during his last three seasons…

CHARACTER

CHARISMA

GROWTH

RHJ spoke post-game about his time in Brooklyn...

”This being my 3rd year here, winning a little bit of games, taking a while for us to do that. The way our organization is developing & wants us to grow, it’s a good feeling & I’m proud to be a a part of it.”

So, maybe the Nets can use his philosophy for their rebuild – the philosophy of life he displays in his Twitter handle, @IamCHAP: Calm, Humble And Patient.