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Dinwiddie does in Nets with late 3-pointer

Former Brooklyn guard buries game-winner at buzzer

March 17, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant dueled late into the fourth quarter at Downtown’s Barclays Center Wednesday night.

But it was a former Net who settled matters.

Spencer Dinwiddie drilled a long, arching 3-pointer as time expired, lifting the Mavericks to a 113-111 victory over Brooklyn in front of a sellout crowd of 17,981 fans on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.

Doncic put up 37 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while Durant, playing without the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, had 23 points, 10 assists and six boards.

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The two superstars took turns putting their team in front down the stretch.

Doncic, who helped the Mavericks (43-26) overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit, snapped a 108-108 tie when he nailed an off-balance 17-footer with 22.6 seconds left in regulation.

Unbowed, Durant answered immediately, running around a screen before pulling up to drill a 27-footer that put the Nets (36-34) up, 111-110.

Doncic appeared content to take the game’s final shot on the ensuing possession, but instead swung a pass to Dinwiddie, who rose up and knocked down a 26-footer that prevented Brooklyn from completing its first five-game winning streak since Oct. 29-Nov. 7.

“It was a big play. Awkward shot and it happened to go in,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said of Dinwiddie’s dagger.

Dinwiddie, who was signed and traded to Washington by the Nets in 2021 before coming to Dallas via a swap in February, finished with 22 points, and Jalen Brunson added 18 for Dallas, which has won three in a row and eight of its last nine games.

Kevin Durant’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 10 seconds left on the clock couldn’t provide the Nets with their fifth straight win Wednesday. AP Photo by John Minchillo

Goran Dragic scored 21 points and Bruce Brown added 17 for the Nets, who won’t have Irving until New York City’s COVID-19 protocols are altered or eliminated.

“Undermanned, three games in four nights. You can see a little fatigue creep in,” Nash said of his shorthanded squad.

Irving scored a career-high and team-record 60 points in Tuesday’s win at Orlando.

“It’s a little awkwardness,” Irving said of watching games at Barclays without participating.

“But showing up there with my family and getting a warm embrace from New York, Brooklyn, just everybody that’s there to support the Nets and support our organization, support me. And just support what’s going on out here and want to see a change.”

The Nets may be getting Ben Simmons, the main player acquired in last month’s trade-deadline deal that sent James Harden to Philadelphia, back before the end of the regular season.

The star swingman has not played since last May due to mental health concerns and is currently dealing with a bad back, which received an epidural shot this week in the hopes that Simmons can return before the playoffs.

“It just depends on the epidural and how he responds,” Nash said prior to the game. “And then they can start to formulate a plan.”

Brooklyn remained in eighth place in the ongoing Eastern Conference playoff race despite Wednesday’s defeat.

The Nets are one game ahead of ninth-place Charlotte and 3 1/2 games behind sixth-place Cleveland for a spot in a postseason series.

After scoring 60 points in Orlando Tuesday, Kyrie Irving will have to wait until later this month to rejoin his teammates on the court due to New York City’s vaccination mandates. AP Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack

Any teams that finish between seventh and 10th in their respective conference must participate in a four-team playoff tournament just to get into an opening-round best-of-7.

Brooklyn, which has 12 regular-season games left to decide its postseason fate, will host Portland here Friday and Utah on Monday night.

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