With Caris LeVert out and the Nets on a three-game losing streak, it was time for other guys to step up.
And that they did.
Behind a balanced attack led by D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie, the Nets defeated the Washington Wizards, 115-104, Friday night at Capital One Arena. Russell and Dinwiddie combined for 48 points and 14 assists on 16-of-29 shooting.
Whatever Kenny Atkinson said at halftime apparently worked. Brooklyn had a two-point lead going into the intermission and they were living on the backs of Russell and Dinwiddie.
They needed help elsewhere.
That’s when the Nets turned on the jets in the third and opened up the game with a 9-0 run, 13-4 extended, which gave them a 15-point lead. They out-scored the Wizards 35-25 in the quarter and it all came on the backs of Russell, Dinwiddie and Brooklyn’s bench.
Dinwiddie solidified his nascent campaign for Sixth Man of the Year by scoring 16 of his season-high 25 points in the first half — the 16 being a career-high in a first half for him. He also dished out eight assists and nabbed three steals.
Dinwiddie became one of four Nets who have posted 25+ points and 8+ assists in a game off the bench ... ever. The others? Terrence Williams, Kendall Gill and Ray Williams. He also leads the NBA for most games with 10+ points off the bench with 15. Behind him? J.J. Redick.
“Any time you lose arguably your best player it’s going to be a letdown,” Dinwiddie said post-game. “We have a lot talent in this locker room and we need to continue to go forward. The season doesn’t stop because he got hurt. That’s our brother, we hurt for him, we hurt with him, and we can’t wait till he’s back — this year — but obviously we’re going to have to keep playing until he does get back.”
Russell, meanwhile, had one of his better games on both sides of the ball with 23 points, six assists and two steals on 8-of-16 shooting. He got where he wanted, when he wanted.
“It was big. We lost a few in a row, had one of our starters go down, something to really dwell on. But this win was very important,” Russell said. “Everybody came through, showed up and stepped up. And it took all of us to get the win.”
And of course, the third and final piece of the three-headed monster was Allen, who finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. It was his fourth double double on the season in 14 games played. It took him 72 games to get his fourth double double.
The “Fro” had missed the past two games with an illness and showed exactly why the Nets need him out there.
Meanwhile, the bench combined for 56 points compared to Washington’s 31. They all played well, namely Dinwiddie, Shabazz Napier (eight points, four rebounds), DeMarre Carroll (11 points, six rebounds) and Rodions Kurucs (nine points).
“It’s early, but I’m excited. I think he can help us,” Atkinson said of second-round pick Rodions Kurucs who got early minutes with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out. “His poise, composure, activity... [I’m] very pleased. I don’t think we win without him tonight.”
Behind their lead, the Nets took a 19-point lead in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, while the Wizards never brought it within 11 from that point on.
The Nets hit a season-high 30 free throws on 38 attempts and turned the ball over just 11 times. They were just 27 percent from three on the night and still escaped with a double-digit victory.
For Washington, Dwight Howard led with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Other than that, the Wizards couldn’t get much going outside of the paint, as they finished the night 3-of-17 from three.
Nobody’s asking whether it was the Nets playing well or the Wizards playing bad. Doesn’t matter. Both teams needed a victory and the Nets were the ones to prevail. They’ll go home and face the Clippers in the second night of a back-to-back (yes, again).
CITY EDITION... COURT
The Nets have taken the city edition jerseys to a whole new level. They altered their court to make it fit the image:
“Biggie would have definitely been a Brooklyn Nets fan,” Mister Cee said in an interview with Alex Wong. ”He would have been courtside every game. He would have so much pride about having the Nets in Brooklyn. He would constantly reference Brooklyn Nets players with his lyrics.”
Of course, the jerseys and court pay tribute to Brooklyn’s finest, Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G.
Hey young fellas, come by anytime! Stay as long as you’d like!
That pullup Bol Bol just converted is a shot he’s worked on and wants part of the arsenal pic.twitter.com/wSrjjdji5I— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) November 16, 2018
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Game 16: Frederick Douglass. All parts of this journey aren’t meant to be comfortable. Today I pay homage to a former slave who became a social reformer and believed in the equality of all people. May we not be afraid to “unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong” RIP #AudienceOfOne #K8IROS #kotd Artwork: @k_o.brand_kickasso
For a different perspective, head on over to Bullets Forever, our sister site on SB Nation.
The Nets will take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Barclays Center tomorrow in their city edition jerseys.
- Game Report: Brooklyn Nets 115, Washington Wizards 104 (Box Score) - NBA.com
- Game Recap: Brooklyn Nets 115, Washington Wizards 104 (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: BKN@WAS (Video) - Bob Lorenz - YES Network
- Nets’ guards stand out in DC (Video) - Ian Eagle & Richard Jefferson - YES Network
- Atkinson lauds Nets’ defense (Video) - YES Network
- Dinwiddie on big win in DC (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Allen on return to Nets’ lineup (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on facing Dwight Howard (Video) - YES Network
- Dinwiddie, Russell help Nets get first win without LeVert - Ian Quillen - AP
- Nets guards fill Caris LeVert void to end three-game skid - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Jarrett Allen more than holds his own against Dwight Howard - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Defense helps Nets to impressive win over Wizards - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets center Jarrett Allen plays well against Wizards’ Dwight Howard in return to lineup - Greg Logan - Newsday
- NETS 115, WIZARDS 104: DINWIDDIE, RUSSELL LEAD BROOKLYN TO WIN IN WASHINGTON - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Sloppy Wizards have three-game win streak halted at home by Nets - Gene Wang - Washington Post