Seven hours before tip-off in Los Angeles, Spencer Dinwiddie tweeted: “I’m coming home.”
Home is where the game is and Dinwiddie delivered when the big moment called for it. With the crowd on its feet and a crew of Dinwiddie’s hometown people looking on, the ball was in his hands in a tie game, two-for-one opportunity.
Dinwiddie drove, faded left and nailed a mid-range jumper at the elbow to give the Nets a 104-102 lead with 28.4 seconds left.
Spencer Dinwiddie in the clutch back home in LA. pic.twitter.com/2ppIS2QslD— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 11, 2020
All they needed was a stop and ultimately, a break. They caught two of them.
On the second-to-last possession, LeBron James bodied Caris LeVert, turned left and missed a wide-open layup. The Lakers, however, knocked the ball off the Nets with 5.8 seconds left which gave L.A. one more chance.
On the final possession, LeBron drove past Wilson Chandler and hit Anthony Davis on the left-wing extended for a wide-open 3-point attempt. Davis had hit 4-of-7 from deep, So disappointment loomed.
Not this time.
Instead, with the Nets bench, including Kevin Durant, screaming at Davis, his shot rimmed out, the buzzer sounded and the Nets defeated the Lakers, 104-102, at Staples Center.
The Nets won their third straight game and four of their last five. They improved to 30-34, perhaps their most impressive win of the season, beating the 49-14 Lakers on their home floor. They were 10-20 away from Barclays Center prior to Tuesday night and had lost 14 of their last 17 on the road.
What. A. Win.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 11, 2020
Nets defeat the Lakers 104-102 after Spencer Dinwiddie hit the go-ahead jumper with 28.4 seconds left. The Nets have won 3 straight and are 2-0 under Jacque Vaughn.
This was the final play: pic.twitter.com/6XMIeKEdXX
Talk about a huge win for the Nets and Jacque Vaughn, who’s now 2-0 as interim head coach of the Nets. The coach may be different, but the ball remained in Dinwiddie’s hands when they needed it most. Only this time around, the Nets executed on both ends of the floor.
Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert were vital in the victory. The Nets didn’t shoot particularly well (41 percent) but the two combined for 55 points and 14 assists. Most importantly, they took over when they needed to. Behind their lead and much-needed boost from Chris Chiozza, (11 points and five assists), they went up by as many as nine later in the fourth quarter.
The difference: They closed out the third quarter on a 7-2 run when Chiozza checked in — 18-7 extended. That’s what gave them the separation they needed. It was just barely enough.
Of course, the Nets made things interesting in the end. With 55 seconds left, the Nets owned a three-point lead, plus a chance to go up five with DeAndre Jordan at the free throw line. He missed both and Anthony Davis made them pay with a 3-pointer on the other end.
Brooklyn scored just 17 points in the fourth quarter. It could’ve ended poorly for the guys in white-and-Coogi.
Davis finished the night with 26 points and eight rebounds on 9-of-19 shooting. Considering Brooklyn’s difficulty covering bigs this season, you can count that as a win in itself. James finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds on 12-of-22 shooting.
Again, it could’ve been much worse, similar to when the Lakers beat the Nets by 15 in Brooklyn back in late January.
THE CHIOZZEN ONE
The Nets didn't fall too far behind and it was in large part due to backup point guard and two-way player, Chris Chiozza. Chiozza kept the Nets afloat and actually helped close out quarters — something they’ve struggled to do all season. As noted, he finished the night with 11 points and five assists on 3-of-7 shooting from three — shooting close to 45 percent from deep in the last 10 games.
In addition to Chiozza, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot finished with 13 points off the bench.
As Ryan Ruocco put it, “Chris Chiozza looks like another great Matt Riccardi find,” referring to Chiozza.
CATCHING A BREAK
The Nets ultimately hit the big shot and came up with two stops, but boy this recap could’ve read much different if James converted on the wide-open layup or Davis hit the wide-open three. All that matters is that they got the victory.
And of course, there was that team defense at the end, as caught by a YES Network camera...
BIG TIME WIN TO START WEST COAST TRIP
On top of fighting through the adversity and change around Brooklyn following Kenny Atkinson’s departure, the Nets had a bit of a pep in their step and they never fell too far behind.
They’ll continue the West Coast trip with a visit to the Bay Area on Friday in a battle against the Golden State Warriors. They’ll have a chance to win four straight and carry some momentum as we enter the final stretch of the season. Moreover, they’ll have Kevin Durant on the bench throughout the California swing.
When Vaughn was asked what he anticipated when Kevin Durant returns to Golden State, he broke into a wide smile. “We’ll see,” he said.
CORONA VIRUS IMPACT ON NBA
Sports typically serve as a way to get away from real life. But when it comes to health — and a serious issue like this, serious measures must be taken. First: media. Here’s what Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on ESPN:
The league notified teams on Monday that they’ll need to eliminate what the NBA considers to be nonessential team personnel — including media members — from locker rooms, the release said.
Here’s what YES Network’s Michael Grady tweeted on Tuesday.
Weird. We’ll see what the next step will be.
JACQUE AND THE COACHING STAFF...
Quick observation: You RARELY see an NBA coach show up to a pregame press conference in playing gear while sweating. There’s a big reason why Jacque Vaughn is different...
Something worth noting about Jacque Vaughn and the Nets coaching staff: Huge part of their routine is being hands on. Most are former players. They PLAY at practice.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 11, 2020
Vaughn hasn’t changed his routine working out with players before games, despite being the head coach. pic.twitter.com/6ZDXmMerPU
And it isn’t just him...
It isn't just Jacque. Travon Bryant, Adam Harrington, Bret Brelmaier and Ryan Forehan-Kelly come to mind immediately.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 11, 2020
Keep all of this in mind as the coaching search continues. It wasn’t just Kenny Atkinson. It’s the people he surrounded himself with that made the Nets who they are. Will they consider keep Jacque and Co. if they play well the rest of the season?
Caris LeVert this past week (4 games):— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 10, 2020
• 28.8 points per game
• 51-point game; 1 triple-double
• Shot 52% from the field; 46% from 3
• 6.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists
• 3-1 record (+7.8) https://t.co/mefbBXytVI
Things have been weird in the world of the Nets lately, but at least they have Kevin Durant next year...
Kevin Durant has progressed to 4-on-4 in his rehab. Here he takes rookie Nic Claxton off the dribble. First time I’ve seen Kevin Durant dunking since his injury.— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) March 10, 2020
This confirms that KD is in LA with the Nets for start of their west coast trip.pic.twitter.com/fXUgtkGjVQ
JARED DUDLEY SHOCKED BY ATKINSON MOVE
Greg Logan caught up with ex-Net Jared Dudley after morning shootaround in L.A. and the Lakers forward expressed surprise that the Nets had dumped Kenny Atkinson ... and the idea that Atkinson couldn’t coach stars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
“I just don’t like the narrative that Kenny Atkinson can’t coach superstars,” Dudley told Newsday. “The thing about it is that I thought he deserved the opportunity. He was there through the bad times and put the culture and the program in position to be able to get two [superstars]. Without Kenny Atkinson, you don’t get those players.”
AS SPONGE BOB WOULD SAY...
Game 64— Nets As Depicted By Spongebob (@NetsDepiction) March 11, 2020
@ Los Angeles Lakers pic.twitter.com/pKXVB83Aso
For a different perspective, head on over to Silver Screen and Roll, our Lakers sister site on SB Nation.
Next up: Nets at Warriors on Thursday, 10:30 PM.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 104, Los Angeles Lakers 102 - NBA.com
- Recap: Brooklyn Nets 104, Los Angeles Lakers 102 (Video) - NBA.com
- Live Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 PM EST
- Kustok on biggest win of season (Video) - YES Network
- Dinwiddie on game-winning jumper (Video) - YES Network
- Vaughn on win over Lakers (Video) - YES Network
- Luwawu-Cabarrot, Chiozza on win (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Vaughn on playing in empty arenas (Video) - YES Network
- Davis misses 3 at buzzer, Nets hold off Lakers 104-102 - Greg Beacham - AP
- Dinwiddie, Nets shock Lakers - Reuters
- Nets shock Lakers for biggest win of their season - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets and Lakers bracing for possibility of fan-free games - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ LeVert, Dinwiddie give Vaughn a win over Lakers - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Lakers’ Dudley stunned the Nets parted ways with Atkinson - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ eventful week continues with thrilling win over Lakers - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- If these Nets can beat the Lakers on the road, just how good can they be next season? - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- As the Nets look to the future, Caris LeVert’s role is uncertain - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- The three things that carried the Nets to an improbable win over the Lakers - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- NETS 104, LAKERS 102: BROOKLYN HOLDS OFF LOS ANGELES FOR ROAD WIN - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. LAKERS - Brooklyn Nets
- Lakers suffer letdown in last-minute loss to Nets, as potential bigger problem looms - Tania Ganguli - Los Angeles Times