Spencer Dinwiddie has done it all for the Nets since Kyrie Irving went down, but he was unable to put on the cape and hit a prayer as time expired.
As a result, the Nets lost to the Miami Heat, 109-106, Sunday afternoon.
However, it wasn’t Dinwiddie’s final possession that lost them the game, rather the horrid execution down the stretch.
Neither team had a lead bigger than seven through the first three quarters. That was up until Dinwiddie dropped five in a row to give the Nets a 103-95 lead with 4:24 remaining. Miami cut the deficit to four, but Joe Harris nailed a huge three-pointer which gave the Nets a seven-point lead, 106-99, with 1:45 remaining.
And that was it. That was their final bucket.
Miami came down and attacked Brooklyn’s timid defense. They finished the game on a 10-0 run with the Nets fouling on FIVE straight possessions to close out the game. The Nets, down three with 11.3 seconds left, had zero timeouts left after Kenny Atkinson used (and failed) on a challenge on one of the five foul calls. It was Atkinson’s first failed challenge of the season.
So, Dinwiddie walked down the court ... and kept walking. Time suddenly disappeared. There wasn’t a single pass nor any movement at all. Dinwiddie got Bam Adebayo to switch on him, but attempted a deep three-pointer while fading to his left side.
It never had a chance.
Dinwiddie finished the night with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists, continuing his stellar play of late, but his decision-making in the end was certainly questionable. Harris, meanwhile, finished with a season-high 25 points with three of his five three-pointers coming in the fourth quarter.
No matter how it ended, Harris had nothing but praise for his teammate.
“We live and die with him making plays down the stretch,” Harris said of Dinwiddie. “I thought he got some really good looks. He did everything you could ask from him ... he just ended the game on a couple tough contested ones and the ball didn’t bounce his way.”
Jimmy Butler scored five of those final points at the line in the final two minutes — 20 total points on the night. Brooklyn played great defense all night, containing Miami to just 39 percent shooting and 32 percent from three. Miami’s ball movement wasn’t crisp and they really never gained full control of this game until the final minutes.
Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
The Nets played their 14th ‘clutch situation’ game, meaning they were within five points with five minutes left. They’re now 8-6 in those scenarios with an overall record of 10-10. They got contributions on both sides of the ball from David Nwaba, who finished in double figures for the second straight game.
There’s no question the Heat (14-5) are a tough team. Coming back after a win against Boston would’ve said a whole lot about this Nets team without Kyrie Irving, without Caris LeVert.
Unfortunately for the guys in white and coogi, they played good enough basketball for only 44 minutes... and that simply isn’t enough.
NWABA PROVING HIS WORTH
“I’m just trying to do what I can. Just go out there, bring some energy, play hard, play the right way.” So said David Nwaba after his second straight 10-point outing.
The 6’6” Nwaba got 18 minutes from Kenny Atkinson Sunday, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 1-of-4 from three. On Wednesday, he also had 10 points, in 19 minutes, shooting 4-of-5 and 2-of-3. He didn’t play on Friday.
The two games are part of what seems to be a resurgence for Nwaba. After getting minutes early in the season, he played only 18 minutes between October 30 and Wednesday, including seven DNP-CD’s. The lack of playing time led to speculation that the 26-year-old could be dumped when Wilson Chandler’s suspension is up on December 15.
But his energetic play on defense and aggressive play on offense seems to have helped his cause.
LATEST ON KYRIE
It’s been more than two weeks since Kyrie Irving was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement, causing him to miss the last nine games. He started off as questionable on November 16, and has been deemed out prior to every game. It’s the Nets thing to do — offer no timetables and basically stay non-committal to anything related to a return.
The most we’ve heard in regard to Kyrie: Practicing... without contact.
Kyrie Irving (shoulder impingement) still isn’t doing any contact work on the court, Kenny Atkinson says. Irving has started to do some on-court exercises.— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) December 1, 2019
Is it worse than initially thought — or are the Nets simply keeping things quiet behind closed doors? We’ll just have to wait and see...
Here’s specifically what Kenny Atkinson said pre-game...
“With Kyrie, the good news is he’s on-court now and working, so that’s really good news,” Atkinson said. “No contact yet and no specific timetable. I do feel better than a week ago that it’s progressing in the right direction.”
For a different perspective on the game, head on over to Hot Hot Hoops, our Heat sister site on SB Nation.
Next up: Nets at Hawks, Wednesday at 7:30 PM ET.
- Box Score: Miami Heat 109, Brooklyn Nets 106 - NBA.com
- Recap: Miami Heat 109, Brooklyn Nets 106 (Video) - NBA.com
- MIA@BKN: Nets Postgame Plus (Video) - YES Network
- Kustok and Ruocco on Nets’ loss (Video) - Sarah Kustok & Ryan Ruocco - YES Network
- Atkinson explains last-minute play call (Video) - YES Network
- Nwaba on physicality of Nets-Heat (Video) - YES Network
- Harris on tough second half vs. Miami (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on ball distribution (Video) - YES Network
- Heat score final 10 points, edge Nets 109-106 - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Heat rally to clip Nets, 109-106 - Reuters
- Nets blow late lead as Spencer Dinwiddie can’t play hero - Zach Braziller - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving takes major step toward return to Nets - Zach Braziller - New York Post
- David Nwaba is thriving when the Nets give him minutes - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Despite loss to Heat, the Nets’ recent success is no fluke - - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets can’t hold on late in loss to Heat - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Coming off the bench, David Nwaba adds offense to his defense - Greg Logan - Newsday
- As Kyrie Irving’s return looms, Spencer Dinwiddie’s role a question mark for Nets - Malika Andrews
- Heat 109, Nets 106: Miami Outlasts Brooklyn Down the Stretch - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Gallery: Nets vs. Heat - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. HEAT: DAVID NWABA, JOE HARRIS, AND KENNY ATKINSON TOP QUOTES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Takeaways from Heat’s comeback road win over Nets, and how Jimmy Butler led the rally - Anthony Chiang - Miami Herald
- Jimmy Butler comes through late in 109-106 Heat win in Brooklyn - Ira Winderman - South Florida Sun-Sentinel