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Nets remain NBA’s hottest team with 7th straight victory in Chicago

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Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are turning into a feel-good NBA story. Watching closely, you see how hard they work, which has become their identity around the league.

That’s why it has a different meaning. They’re starting to see the hard work pay off.

They won their seventh straight game on Wednesday — their first seven-game win streak since the 2012-2013 season. A win Friday vs. Indiana would be their longest in 12 years (!)

And it comes exactly two weeks after they collapsed against the Thunder In their eighth straight loss.

Things are different right now. They’re playing good ball, but as Spencer Dinwiddie said: Never get too high or get too low.

In the second night of a back-to-back, the Brooklyn Nets (15-18) barely took down the lowly Chicago Bulls (7-25), 96-93, Wednesday night in Chicago.

Coming off a high-scoring nail-biter against the Lakers, the Nets arrived in Chicago in the wee hours of the morning and had to play a game later that day. They were tired, their shots were short and passes a little sloppy.

But they were able to dig it out.

The two teams found themselves in a back-and-forth battle, neither able to fully pull away. It was 93-92 Bulls lead with 42 seconds left. Lauri Markkanen was charged with an offensive foul and Joe Harris finished a tough floater on the opposite end, ultimately serving as the game-winning bucket for Brooklyn.

The Nets stopped Chicago and had possession, but Spencer Dinwiddie held the ball too long — 24 seconds too long — and it was Chicago’s ball with a chance to win with eight seconds left.

It was obvious the Bulls wanted to go with the hot hand, Kris Dunn. So, as Justin Holiday tried to hand it off, Dinwiddie poked the ball loose and Harris jumped on it. After a Bulls foul, Dinwiddie hit the free throws that would close this thing out at 96-93. It was a game with 21 ties and 23 lead changes.

Dinwiddie was the player of the game with 27 points and six rebounds, while Jarrett Allen notched his 12th double double on the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Allen scored 12 of his 22 in the first quarter.

Chicago was led by Dunn (24 points) and Shaq Harrison (13 points). Zach Lavine (ankle) did not play.

The Nets only forced eight turnovers, but they won the rebound battle by six — something that’s been happening more than less of late. It’s been crucial to their win streak. They only hit 45 percent of their shots and 32 percent from three, but they hit 20 of their 25 free throw attempts.

It wasn’t pretty, but this game was a testament to Brooklyn’s toughness. A couple weeks ago they probably don’t win this game. December Nets? Different story.

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TRACKING THE PLAYOFFS

We’ve been tracking the eighth seed, but entering tonight with a six-game win streak, the Nets actually have as many wins as the sixth-seed Pistons, while sitting 1.5 games out of both the seven and eight seeds. By the end of the night, the Nets were a half game out of eighth, two games out of sixth.

YEAH, WE’RE TALKING PLAYOFFS.

Games to watch: Magic-Spurs (Wednesday), Hornets-Cavs (Wednesday), Pistons-Timberwolves (Wednesday).

PUT SOME RESPECT ON OUR NAME (S/O MICHAEL GRADY)

Ahh... LeBron James gets blocked at the rim for, what, the ninth time of his career and ESPN tries to spin it in a way that he isn’t as explosive? Sounds appropriate.

Let’s not get it mixed up. Jarrett Allen, 20, went up there and contested one of the greatest players of all-time. Give him credit for THAT alone, not to mention it was an incredible block. So it’s time pundits start giving the Brooklyn Net some respect.

Here’s the video:

Michael Grady of YES tweeted his thoughts on the video...

Then pre-game went on a reasoned rant ... (Louder for those in the back!!!)

TWO-HEADED SNAKE SLITHERING NETS TO WINS

During the six-game win streak entering Wednesday, Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell have been tearing it up. During that span, Dinwiddie has averaged 23.5 points while shooting 52.3 percent overall and 39.3 from 3-point range over the last six games, along with 6.0 assists.

Russell has averaged 18.7 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 48 percent overall and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.

After Tuesday’s 115-110 victory over the Lakers, Russell called the two a “two-headed snake”. We’re making that their official nickname. Not Brooklyn’s Backcourt.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective, head on over to Blog-a-Bull, the SB Nation fan site.

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The Brooklyn Nets will host the Indiana Pacers, Friday at 7:30 pm.