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Brooklyn’s ‘D’ plays big role in win over Memphis, 109-100

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these two teams played, the Nets lost a heart breaker in double overtime. This time, they came into Memphis and took care of business, winning their ninth road game and second consecutive, 109-100. They’ve now won 11 of their last 14 games.

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets in another balanced attack with 23 points and 10 assists in 36 minutes. DLo is now one of just five NBA players with six or more 20 point/10 assists games this season. The other 4 are LeBron James, James Harden, John Wall and Jrue Holiday. It was the 20th game in which the Nets had six or more players in double figures.

“I thought D’Angelo (Russell) made some elite passes tonight... Those are the type of passes LeBron makes,” said Kenny Atkinson after the game.

It was a close and chippy game throughout. Neither the Nets nor the Grizzlies were able to pull away, as Brooklyn entered the fourth quarter with a four-point lead. There were blocks, dunks, hard fouls and even an altercation.

And the Nets got the last laugh.

They began to somewhat pull away early in the fourth. DeMarre Carroll hit a three-pointer and gave Brooklyn its biggest lead at eight. They stayed consistent and led by seven with under five minutes left, but Memphis hung around. Then, Joe Harris got involved. He scored five points and assisted on another basket to give the Nets a 104-94 lead with 3:17 left. That was all they needed. When the Grizz got within six with less than a minute left, Spencer Dinwiddie hit the dagger.

It was another big team win for the guys in black and white, who now hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re also 19-21 on the season with one game left till the midway point. The last time they won 20 games before the midway point? Their first season in Brooklyn in 2012-2013.

“Defense, defense, defense,” said Atkinson in the post-game, when asked about why the Nets won.

Following a night in which Brooklyn’s bench outscored the opponent 55-5, they nearly replicated the big effort with a 51-20 advantage, led by Carroll who had 20 points and five rebounds.

“It’s growth, man,” Carroll told Michael Grady of YES after the game.

But it wasn’t only Carroll who was big off the bench. Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 13 points and five assists, while Shabazz Napier put home 10. The starting unit, led by DLo, also saw big contributions from Joe Harris (18 points) and Jarrett Allen (12 points, 12 rebounds).

As for Memphis, they’ve lost four straight game and seem to be dwindling and are now the opposite of the Nets in the last 14 games ... 3-11. In his last match against the Nets, Mike Conley dropped 37. In tonight’s match, he dropped 31.

They seemed to have figured it out and they’re doing it all without Caris LeVert.

But as Kenny Atkinson said after the game...

“Let’s take it one game at a time.”

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PLAYOFFS?!

We enjoyed Brooklyn’s 30 minutes of playoff picture fame on Wednesday, but they fell back out following a Pistons victory. They entered Friday right there: 12 out of the eight seed, one game out of the seven seed, 1.5 games out of the six seed.

Games to watch: Miami-Washington, Orlando-Minnesota.

TREVEON GRAHAM RETURNS

After missing the last 37 games with a hamstring injury, Treveon Graham was back in the rotation and contributing. The potential small-ball stretch-4 finished the night with two points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.

The Nets are still down four players, including three starters: Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dzanan Musa.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective, take a look at Grizzly Bear Blues, our Grizzlies sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Chicago Bulls on Sunday at 3:30 PM.