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December 8: Dinwiddie leads Nets over Knicks in 2nd straight victory, 112-104

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

“We got a huge monkey off our back [last night],” Spencer Dinwiddie told Michael Grady in the post game. Dinwiddie and the Nets went from losing eight straight to winning two straight.

We were just hearing talk about tanking, but they’re only 3.5 games out.

The Nets (10-18) played another one of those game where they played great for three quarters and led by double digits entering the fourth, but almost blew it at the end. The key word there: almost.

They beat the Knicks (8-19), 112-104, Saturday night at the Garden. They snapped an eight-game losing streak last night against the top team in the NBA, and they finally snapped a 12-game losing streak in the second night of back-to-backs.

The win also marked Brooklyn’s first road win in the second night of a back-to-back since December 21, 2015 (33 games). They avoided NBA history with the win.

The Nets played their style of ball throughout. Zero players were in double figures in the first half, but nine players had two or more field goals. It coincides with Kenny Atkinson’s system. There is no one-man show or hero ball, rather an offense that relies on ball movement and equal touches for everybody.

Not to mention, they hit 49 percent of their shots and saw more of a balance in the halfcourt offense, hitting 11-of-22 from deep. They incorporated more mid-range and paint play, which paid off.

The Nets led by 11 entering halftime and then 17 entering the fourth. Spencer Dinwiddie scored Brooklyn’s final seven points in the third quarter and all looked well on Brooklyn’s end.

Not so fast.

The offense got stagnant and the pace shifted in New York’s favor. They went on a 19-5 run and brought it within five with five minutes remaining. The Nets brought it back up to 10, but the Knicks trimmed the deficit down to six with less than a minute remaining.

The Knicks trotted down the floor and looked to make it a four-point game, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a huge defensive play and knocked the ball out of Allonzo Trier’s hands with 35 seconds left.

Dinwiddie came down on the other end and dunked home the dagger with 32 seconds left. It was a perfect way to cap off his 25 point, six-assist night. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds — his second 20-point night of the season.

More importantly, his action on the defensive end helped propel Brooklyn to a win. Last night, he covered Kawhi Leonard on the final play of the game and forced a miss in regulation and then forced him to pass up the final shot, which ultimately led to Brooklyn’s win.

Jarrett Allen finished with his 11th double double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Allen Crabbe chipped in 17 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from deep. D’Angelo Russell had an off shooting night, but tied a Nets’ season-high with 11 assists.

For the Knicks, Enes Kanter dominated the Nets again with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Off the bench, Knicks’ two-way man Allonzo Trier chipped in 15 points in 27 minutes.

MORE THAN JUST A REGULAR DAY...

This day has been anticipated for Spencer Dinwiddie and for several reasons, but none more important than it being the most important day for his family. It’s the birthday of his late grandmother and his younger brother.

“It’s the biggest day my family has,” he told Grady after the game. “My grandmother was the matriarch of our family, she held a lot of it together, we lost her 6/3/17 [May 3, 2017] so this is now our second December 8 without her. And you know, my younger brother actually has the same exact birthday as her and that was my mom’s birthday gift to my grandmother, so it’s just huge, man. I miss her everyday. Her favorite color is purple, so I had the purple on the shoes today. That was my girl, for real.”

LAUNCH OF K8IROS

If you follow Spencer Dinwiddie or read our game recaps, you’ll notice that we highlight a section for Dinwiddie’s kicks. The reason behind this all is because he’s doing something unique, something no other player has done before.

He’s been customizing his shoes with a different theme each and every game. He said he uses his imagination to create a special shoe whether it relates to the city they’re playing in or just a message he’d like to send.

For example, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, in Minnesota, he wore a pair of shoes dedicated to Prince. One game at home, he wore a pair of shoes with different media brand logos to show appreciation for journalists and a free press.

December 8 wasn’t only a big day for contract purposes, but also for the release of his new brand “K8iros.” You can buy game-worn shoes and have proceeds go to charity, or buy your own shoes and apparel. It’s another chapter in his underdog story journey, and it couldn’t have been done in a more Spencer Dinwiddie way.

“They tried to write my story without running in my shoes!”

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

We aren’t just going to stop this feature because of the launch! Here were his kicks on Saturday, taken by the Brooklyn Nets. The purple is for his late grandmother, whose favorite color was purple. [See above]

For fear and loathing, head on over to Posting and Toasting, our Knicks sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.