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Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul go off as Harden-less Rockets drop the Nets, 119-111

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Well, half the banana boat was enough to beat the Nets.

With James Harden out for his third game in a row due to a left hamstring strain, and the Rockets on a four-game losing streak, it would seem as if the Nets could ride the Wednesday-night heroics of Spencer Dinwiddie into yet another win.

Chris Paul, however, wasn’t having it.

With a game-high 32 points and 11 assists, Paul led the Rockets to a 119-111 win over the now 3-6 Brooklyn Nets.

Carmelo Anthony weighed in with 28 points in 30 minutes on 9-of-12 shooting, making 6-of-8 three pointers.

“You’ve got to be a little more perfect, a little better to beat a team that was conference finalists last year,” Kenny Atkinson said. “I thought we were OK, but we weren’t [that]. You almost have to play a perfect game to beat them and we weren’t there. We were average to above-average and that isn’t good enough to beat a great team.”

The Nets had pulled ahead early on, with a 14-point lead late in the second. A 13-4 run late in the first half by the Rockets pulled them to within five points, 61-56 at halftime.

Houston then went hot - real hot - in the second half, taking the lead midway through the third and then never looking back.

They held the Nets scoreless on eight straight possessions, going on a 9-0 run to take a 111-102 lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Without James Harden, the Rockets won just their second game of the season,

Caris LeVert scored a team- (and career-) high 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, 4-of-6 from the three-point line, while D’Angelo Russell added just 12 points in 22 minutes, none in the second half as Kenny Atkinson again went with Dinwiddie late.

It was the third time this season that Russell has sat in crunch time.

“We lost, so that’s my main frustration,” Russell said.

“I’ll look at the game film to see what I can do to dictate if I’m playing in the end, but like I said we got a lot of guys that are capable of doing things, so whatever Kenny says, goes.”

Well, here’s what coach Atkinson had to say about going with the hot hand late.

“Yeah, like I said, it’s game to game. We’re going to see it with Spencer (Dinwiddie) and Caris (LeVert) and Joe (Harris) and I thought they were playing well. And then we went one through five is switch, we switched everything, so didn’t want to get any mismatches.”

Still, not a lot of fans were happy with the move. And former Net, Kenny Anderson (!) even tweeted out his disappointment.

Shabazz Napier provided a nice spark off the bench, scoring 11 points in 16 minutes, while Dinwiddie, Wednesday’s hero, played 27 minutes off the bench on his way to 12 points (5-of-13).

The larger issue is defense. This was the sixth time in nine games that the Nets allowed 115 or more points ... and the fifth straight. Of those six, the Nets have won one, the overtime thriller vs. the Pistons.

There it is. Or, shall we say, there it was - an opportunity lost, at home, against a struggling Rockets team without their best player.

Next up for the Nets is Sunday evening at home against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. It doesn’t get any easier, which is why it stings to see a game like this slip through your hands.

“We’re just trying to win,” said LeVert. “I don’t think we’re putting too much on it. I think everybody just wants to win pretty desperately and it sucks losing these types of games.”

DINWIDDIE WANTS BROOKLYN TO WANT HIM...

With Spencer Dinwiddie due for a contract extension come December 8, the chatter is starting to pick up around this matter.

“Oh, I mean, I’d love to have one,” Dinwiddie told Michael Scotto of the Athletic. “I’d love to be here. This organization has shown me hospitality and given me an opportunity like I haven’t had in the NBA before, so I’m definitely indebted to them, and if they decide to sign me, I’d be one of the happiest players in the league.”

Seems like the feeling is mutual, but we’ll see.

DINWIDDIES KICKS...

CONGRATS, IAN!

Last night, Nets on YES play-by-play announcer, Ian Eagle, received the Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media from his alma mater, the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

This is a tremendous honor from a tremendous program. Nets fans are extremely lucky to have him.

CONGRATS, SARAH!

While she was doing color commentary for the Nets on Friday, Sarah Kustok was inducted into the Carl Sandburg High School Hall of Fame.

***

For a different perspective, head on over to The Dream Shake, our sister site on SB Nation.

Next Up? The Nets face Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in Brooklyn on Sunday at 7 p.m.