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Dinwiddie drops 32 as Nets get B.I.G. win over Celtics, 112-107

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Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — After Thanksgiving, the Nets needed some home cooking against the Celtics. And on the night in which the Nets paid tribute to Notorious B.I.G., his words became symbolic for the past two games against the Boston Celtics:

“Damn right I like the life I live, because I went from negative to positive.”

Playing in the second game of a home-and-home against the 13-5 Boston Celtics, the 10-9 Brooklyn Nets got the redemption they sought, defeating Kyrie’s former team, 112-107, Friday afternoon at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn has won 5 of their last 7 games, and are now 5-0 when they play on Friday’s.

“I thought physically we were really, really good,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “I thought from the tip, we were ready, and we sustained it too.”

Indeed. The Nets started on a 12-4 run, scoring 22 points in the first six minutes of the game. They hit 17 three-pointers and assisted on 30 of their 43 made field goals.

“We’ve got to make them miss, and it starts with me. We got lucky the night before and today they burned us. It starts with me,” Marcus Smart said afterwards. The Celtics had 19 turnovers.

The Nets played yet again without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert, not to mention Kevin Durant and Wilson Chandler. Next Man Up Spencer Dinwiddie led the charge with 32 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. It was his second time scoring 30 points in his last four games, and he became the fifth Net (all time) to drop 30 a and 10 against the Boston Celtics.

“He’s playing as well as anybody in the NBA right now, in my opinion,” said Atkinson.

The problem? They struggled (again) when he wasn’t on the floor.

—In the first quarter, the Celtics finished out on a 9-2 run after the Nets took a 14-point lead.

—In the second quarter, the Celtics finished out on a 10-2 run after the Nets took an 11-point lead.

—In the third quarter, the Celtics finished out on a 12-4 run after the Nets took a 14-point lead.

The starters kept thing steady all night, but the second unit couldn’t keep things secure. The only thing that mattered, though, was that they closed this one out.

... Behind Dinwiddie’s lead.

“The role is completely different so obviously, there is a change there. My approach to the game is very similar either way,” Dinwiddie said about starting. “It’s whatever the team needs to win and then the role kind of dictates what that is. Sometimes it will be defense, sometimes it will be offense.”

Two consecutive three-pointers from Garrett Temple and then Dinwiddie gave the Nets a 13-point lead midway in the fourth. Coming back from a two-game hiatus, DeAndre Jordan put the exclamation point on the run with an alley-oop, 15-point Nets lead with 7:14 remaining.

Then, the Celtics made their run(s).

First, it was a 9-2 run for Boston that brought the 15-point Brooklyn lead down to six. The Nets answered strong, however; with Dinwiddie blitzed off the pick-and-roll, leading to a swing pass to the wing and another to the corner, where Taurean Prince executed and put the Nets up by nine with 2:35 left.

It was desperation time for the Celtics, perhaps a bit too late. They went on a mini 7-2 run that brought this thing within four with 58 seconds left, but on the ensuing possession, the Nets came down and hit Jarrett Allen on the trail for a mean slam, giving the Nets a 6-point lead with 34 seconds left.

Allen finished his night with 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was his fourth straight double-double and his sixth in his last seven. (The other game he had nine boards).

The Nets finished the night with a solid victory over a tough Celtics team — their first win against a .500 team since Kyrie has been out. The key to the victory? Containing Kemba Walker, who dropped a 39 piece against them on Wednesday.

“Today, they wanted me to be really aggressive guarding Kemba (Walker) trying to deny him the ball and so that actually spurred a couple of the first buckets,” said Dinwiddie.

His job worked. The Nets came out better defensively, more aware and much more physical. They held Walker to 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting and 1-of-8 from three. Jayson Tatum was really the only player to torch Brooklyn with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Otherwise, they forced Boston to turn the ball over 19 times.

This game was a huge testament to the Nets, down to 11 healthy players plus two two-ways, and how they battle adversity. Guys are stepping up in bigger roles, while some are playing out of position. They’ve been winning since Kyrie went down, but it’s been a total team effort.

Friday afternoon was the biggest one yet.

For post-game audio, click here.

KYRIE IRVING INJURY UPDATE

NETS DEBUT BED-STUY JERSEYS ... AND COOGI COURT

Well done. Now only if they could just say the team’s name or city, they’d be perfect!

SENSITIVE MATERIAL WARNING

After the game, three Celtics embraced Kyrie Irving, ruining the Boston narrative that Irving was hated by his teammates in Boston. One after another, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and Jayson Tatum came to speak with him ... and more.

Then, post-game, Smart offered what he hopes is the valedictory on the Kyrie Irving situation.

“Kyrie’s no longer with the Boston Celtics,” Smart told reporters from his locker stall. “And it’s a slap across everybody on this team now to keep hearing Kyrie’s name because every last one of these guys has put in the work and continue to put in the work. We’re here, we’re still competing. And yet everybody, including the Boston fans, want to talk about Kyrie. Let’s talk about the Boston Celtics.”

JOE, MEET WHAMMY; WHAMMY, JOE.

Before the game, owner Joe Tsai introduced himself to Mr. and Mrs. Whammy, then later tweeted out the picture of the three with a message...

Tsai was smiling and well, he should. After all, he was courtside again for what ultimately was a big Nets win ... and his net worth jumped a half-billion this week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange listed Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for the first time. That will permit ordinary Chinese to invest in his company

So far, this year, reports Bloomberg, his net worth has increased by more than $3.2 billion ... or just short of the $3.4 billion he paid for the Nets and Barclays Center. That’s a lot of luxury taxes.

He’s also surpassed fellow NBA owners Robert Pera (Grizzlies) and Micky Arison (Heat) to become the second wealthiest NBA owner behind the Clippers Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, whose fortune is four times Tsai’s.

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Next up: Miami Heat on Sunday, 3 PM ET.