After suffering yet another close loss Friday night in Philadelphia, Spencer Dinwiddie put the Nets’ season in perspective when he said, “We’ve been one play away in maybe 20 games this season. We’ve got to do better.”
One night later, the Nets overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit, made all the plays down the stretch and held the Mavericks to 17 fourth-quarter points to record a 114-106 victory at Barclays Center.
With the Nets down 10 in the third period, DeMarre Carroll scored six straight points to ignite a 13-2 run that gave the Nets an 83-82 lead. The Mavs had a four-point lead early in the final period when the Nets put together a 16-4 surge that included five points apiece from Caris LeVert and D’Angelo Russell for a 104-96 lead.
Breaking a recent pattern, the Nets found some defense down the stretch. Jarrett Allen blocked a shot and the Nets forced turnovers on four straight possessions while pushing their lead to 109-99 on Russell’s jumper with 3:39 to go, and they were able to hold on.
“I just told them, ‘We’re not going to lose this game,’ ” Carroll said of his third-quarter message. “I refused to let us lose this game. I felt like this is a team we’re better than. We’ve been playing close games all throughout the year, and I think this was a great teaching experience to be able to pull this game out at the end.”
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson topped six Nets in double figures with 23 points. Russell had 22, Carroll added 19 points and 11 rebounds and the Nets (22-48) shot 51.2 percent from the field.
Dennis Smith Jr. led the Mavs (22-48) with 21 points but limped off the court with a sprained ankle late in the third period and did not return. The Mavs also got 18 points from Dwight Powell, 16 from Jalen Jones and 12 points and 12 assists from former Net Yogi Ferrell.
Russell delivered seven critical fourth-quarter points against the Mavs, but he credited solid defense for the win. “Watch film, grow on it and get better from the situation so it doesn’t keep repeating itself,” he said.
Hollis-Jefferson agreed the loss to the 76ers was fresh on the Nets’ minds entering the fourth quarter. “We talked in the huddle, ‘Let’s do it now. Let’s do it together, and let’s make it hard for them.’ A lot of teams, they want to speed us up, they want to make us take tough shots. Tonight, it worked for us.”