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Spencer Dinwiddie hits the big shot back home in L.A. as Nets defeat Lakers, 104-102

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers

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.

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.

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...

And it isn’t just him...

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?

SNUB?

KD UPDATE

Things have been weird in the world of the Nets lately, but at least they have Kevin Durant next year...

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...

For a different perspective, head on over to Silver Screen and Roll, our Lakers sister site on SB Nation.

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Next up: Nets at Warriors on Thursday, 10:30 PM.