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Dinwiddie drops 27, leads Nets to fourth straight victory

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Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have won four straight games for the first time since the 2014-2015 season — the same season they made the playoffs with 38 wins.

Hmm...

This time it came against the 11-18 Washington Wizards, 125-118, Friday night at Barclays Center. The Nets entered Wednesday with a 4-10 record at home, but finally gave the home, crowd something to cheer about while handing Washington its fourth straight loss.

And for a third straight night, it was on the back of Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with 27 points, six assists and four rebounds. He’s coming off games of 39 points and 25 points and averaging 27 points over the winning streak. So far, the extension is looking pretty, pretty good.

“It was nice to see him after everything that’s happened,” said Kenny Atkinson afterwards. “I thought he took it to another level, defensively and offensively. He was outstanding all around, you definitely see the growth, the maturity and quite honestly leadership capabilities. He’s getting better every day.”

It was another excellent first half for the Nets, who out-scored the Wizards 43-28 in the second quarter behind the lead of Dinwiddie and DeMarre Carroll. They led by 10 entering the half and they never really wavered.

They went back up by 11 shortly after and let Dinwiddie close out the quarter in style. He scored five straight points and gave the Nets a 101-86 lead entering the fourth — their third straight game with 94+ points through three quarters and second game this season with 100+ points.

All they had to do was finish.

The Wizards, who lead the NBA in fourth quarter shooting, went on a 19-7 run to start the final stanza and trimmed the deficit to four with over five minutes left. But, the Nets went on a late 11-0 run, led by two 3-pointers from Joe Harris, and took a 13-point lead with a little over two minutes remaining.

Harris hit the dagger three with 1:07 left. Game over.

During this four-game win streak, the Nets have a lot more balance in their offense and it starts with Dinwiddie driving the ball more. They aren’t taking threes just to take threes. They’ve let the game dictate their pace and it’s paid off.

They hit 11-on-31 three-point attempts, led by Harris (19 points) and Carroll (12 points), both who were 3-of-7. Allen Crabbe was inactive due to a banged-up knee. In his first start at power forward, Rodions Kurucs finished with a new career-high 15 points to go with six rebounds. Post-game, Kurucs told Michael Grady he is just having a good time playing basketball.

For Washington, Bradley Beal dropped 31 and dished nine assists, while John Wall finished with 17 points and 13 assists.

So, after losing eight straight, the Nets have won four straight. What good came out of the losing streak?

“Players only, baby – players only film session. JD (Jared Dudley) did a wonderful job in our film session of just helping us. It also spurred some communication. Now we’re kind of rolling a little bit. Let’s keep it going. Let’s never get too high or too low,” Dinwiddie said.

MARKS ON DINWIDDIE

There are several things you can take away from Sean Marks’ pregame press conference on Spencer Dinwiddie. For starters, why did the Nets decide to do it now?

“I think there’s a couple of things. Go back three years when we first signed him. I think Spencer has shown terrific ability to improve, to develop, to be a part of this culture, and it’s deserving of him right now. You wanna reward a guy that has bought in entirely.”

RODIONS SHOCKER

With Allen Crabbe out (knee), Kenny Atkinson surprised everyone by starting Rodions Kurucs. And the Latvian came through big time. It wasn’t just the 15 points and six rebounds. Kurucs also shot 5-of-6 overall, 1-of-1 from three and 4-of-4 from the line. He also had his second assist of the season and first since Opening Night vs. Detroit.

More importantly, he played 29 minutes, by the far the most in his rookie year. In the last two games, Kurucs has shot 10-of-12 overall, 2-of-2 from deep and 8-of-9 from the line. Atkinson liked what he saw.

“I thought he hit two big shots when we were struggling ... all around, his energy, his athleticism, it’s a big plus.”

It was a big shock for Kurucs, too.

“I was surprised. I was excited, because I never started a game for the big teams. I always like to start from the bench. But I see how it is, and I loved it,” he said. “It meant a lot. I’m just playing hard and giving my 100 percent on the court. If I feel like someone is into me and trying to help me, I try to give back. I appreciate it.”

Not bad for a No. 40 pick who played a TOTAL of 42 minutes for F.C. Barcelona last year.

YOUTH MUST BE SERVED

There may not be a measure for this but Friday’s starting lineup has to be the youngest starting lineup in Nets history...

Jarrett Allen: 20 years, 238 days;

Rodions Kurucs: 20 years, 313 days;

D’Angelo Russell: 22 years, 295 days;

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: 23 years, 346 days;

Joe Harris: 27 years, 100 days.

That’s just under 23 years old. Also, Kurucs was the youngest international player to ever start for the Nets in New Jersey or Brooklyn, replacing Yi Jianlian on the list.

ATKINSON ON DINWIDDIE

Continuity...

Commitment...

Never satisfied...

WIZARDS TRADE FAILS

As Barclays Center was emptying, a Woj Bomb detonated inside the Wizards locker room.

Teammates were coming up to Rivers and Oubre in the Barclays locker room, wishing them well. Reporters were interviewing them about how they felt about moving.

Hold on!

The Suns thought they were getting Dillon Brooks in the trade, but no, the Grizzlies thought they were giving up MARSHON Brooks rather than Dillon. And no, they would not accept a substitute Brooks. So deal off.

As it turns out, the Suns and Grizzlies never spoke directly but used the Wizards front office as an intermediary. So chalk up another loss for the Wiz Friday.

CARIS LEVERT’S 22 INTIATIVE

He may not be playing on the court, but his efforts off the court continue. As part of Caris LeVert’s “22 Initiative”, Caris took 140 kids to see an advanced screening of the movie “Bumblebee” Thursday night in Manhattan. Along with the 22 initiative group, LeVert hosted organizations such as Children of Promise, Man Up, Children’s Village, MS Society, Emanuel Baptist Church Youth Ministry and Madison Square Boys & Girls Club.

“I always wanted to do something like this when I got to the NBA,” LeVert told NetsDaily in November.

Of particular note is the presence of Children of Promise on LeVert’s list. It helps children of incarcerated parents. Jarett Allen has also worked with the group.

For a different perspective, and discussion of the failed three-team deal, head on over to Bullets Forever.

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The Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday at 3:00pm.