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DINWIDDIE LEADS NETS TO IMPROBABLE COMEBACK OVER ROCKETS, 145-142

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Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Houston, the Brooklyn Nets are a PROBLEM.

Down eight with 1:02 left in the fourth, the Nets’ chances at an improbable comeback victory looked lost. P.J. Tucker had just nailed a three-pointer which set an NBA record for most three’s attempted in a game (at that point) with 62.

But then Spencer Dinwiddie hit one three-pointer.

... And then another.

...... And then another.

He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and nine in the final 1:02 following the three consecutive three’s. It all happened with the Nets down three following two free throws from James Harden. Dinwiddie trotted up the floor and without hesitation, nailed the game-tying three, 131-131.

The teams went to overtime, where Dinwiddie was hot but Harden was the star, entering OT with 53 points.

The teams scrapped back and forth, as they did all night, but Dinwiddie was unstoppable. Newly signed Rocket, James Nunnally, nailed a three with a little over a minute remaining to go up 142-135.

Same script as regulation: no quit from Brooklyn.

Treveon Graham answered on the other end, nailing a huge three-pointer to cap off the best game of his career with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Suddenly they were back. They came up with a stop on the other end, then Jarrett Allen capped off the best game of his career with an and-one to pull within two points.

Allen missed the free throw, but Graham scrapped for the offensive board, set up the offense, and let Dinwiddie go off. Dinwiddie drove to the hole, got fouled and hit the bucket, giving Brooklyn a 143-142 lead with 28 seconds left.

“I like that he [Spencer Dinwiddie] didn’t settle especially on that three-point play off the offensive rebound from T.G. [Treveon Graham]. T.G. gets the offensive rebound, kicks it out to Spence and Spence doesn’t take a bad three, drives it and he gets the and-one. I loved how he was driving the ball to the rim,” Kenny Atkinson said of the final 30 seconds.

Harden had the ball on the final possession, but the Nets came with a double team and forced a pass to Austin Rivers, who missed an open 29-foot three-pointer.

Joe Harris hit a pair of free throws and Gerald Green missed the game-tying three as time expired, and the Brooklyn Nets (23-23) took down the Houston Rockets (25-19), 145-142. The Rockets attempted the most three’s in NBA history (23-of-70) and the two teams combined for the most three’s taken in a game (106).

“It shows the growth we’ve had from the beginning of the season,” said DeMarre Carroll.

Spencer Dinwiddie, leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, scored 33 points and dished out 10 assists on the night, while James Harden, leading candidate for MVP, finished with 58 points and 10 assists. He’s averaging more than 42 points over the last five games.

Jarrett Allen finished with his first 20-20 night with 20 points and 24 rebounds, taking full advantage of Clint Capela’s absence. He joined four other players in NBA history to have 20+ points and 24+ rebounds in a game before turning 21 years old.

Seven Nets scored in double figures, led by Dinwiddie, Allen and Graham. Off the bench, DeMarre Carroll stepped up with 22 points. He hit two clutch three’s in the final minutes to bring Brooklyn within single digits.

“It was funny, before the game we talked about [how] we have to do this together,” said Atkinson after the game. “We got to do it as a group and that’s what the guys did. Contributions from everybody...

“I don’t want to have a parade or anything, but that’s real big-time progress...these guys want more.”

The Nets have now won six of the last eight games and they’re 15-5 in the last 20 games. They improved to 23-23 on the season and it’s the first time the Nets were .500 in January since the 2012-2013 season.

Perhaps the most important feat of this team, however, is the heart they possess. Atkinson calls it “togetherness.”

“I think it speaks to how together our team is and how everybody’s contributing. Obviously Spencer [Dinwiddie] made some phenomenal plays, but I thought defensively we made some good plays.”

... And they’re having fun.

We have waited for the this team for a long, long time.

—-

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENTS

—Treveon Graham had the best scoring night of his 99-game career, with 21 points ... on only nine shots.

—Jarrett Allen had the first 20-20 game of his career with 20 points and 24 rebounds, becoming only the fifth player in NBA history to achieve those numbers before his 21st birthday. That’s also the most rebounds by a Net player under 21, seven more than Brook Lopez in his rookie year.

—Spencer Dinwiddie became just the second player in NBA history to register two 30-point, 10-assist games off the bench in a season. Jamal Crawford is the other. Crawford won Sixth Man of the Year that season.

—DeMarre Carroll had a season-high 22 points.

PLAYOFF RACE...!

The Nets entered Wednesday night’s game as the seven seed in the East — 12 game out of the six-seed Miami Heat and one full game ahead of the eight-seed Charlotte Hornets. The Orlando Magic are the nine seed and stand just two games away from the Nets.

And after the game? The Nets moved into sixth seed, percentage points ahead of the Heat.

MORE PRAISE FOR KENNY

Nothing really new here, but we’re going to note it anyway. Basically every and any coach that plays the Nets seems to have nothing but good things to say about head coach Kenny Atkinson. Mike D’Antoni was the latest:

SHOUT OUT TO IAN EAGLE

Nets fans are spoiled with the analysts calling games for YES Network. The anchor of it all, Ian Eagle, has made games so much more fun — through good times and bad times. He was awarded for his hard work.

From the National Sports Media Association:

Ian Eagle, television play-by-play voice of the Brooklyn Nets on the YES Network, was voted the 2018 New York Sportscaster of the Year. It’s his fourth state win. Mike Waters, of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com, won his first New York Sportswriter of the Year Award.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective — not to mention weeping and gnashing of teeth— head over to The Dream Shake, our Rockets sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Orlando Magic in Orlando on Friday at 7:00pm ET.