TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsBasketballNets

Spencer Dinwiddie's late three lifts Nets in overtime

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie reacts after sinking the

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie reacts after sinking the game-winning three-pointer against the Pistons in overtime at Barclays Center on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Spencer Dinwiddie has a knack for making his former team miserable. Dinwiddie scored a game-winner last season in Detroit, and his corner three with 7.1 seconds left in overtime Wednesday night at Barclays Center gave the Nets a shot in the arm with a 120-119 win over the Pistons to end a three-game losing streak.

With D’Angelo Russell (six points on 3-of-15 shooting) on the bench much of the fourth quarter and overtime, it was Dinwiddie who led the Nets back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit. He finished with 25 points, and the Nets (3-5) got 23 from Joe Harris.

The Pistons (4-3) were led by Blake Griffin (25), Andre Drummond (24 points, 23 rebounds) and Reggie Jackson (21).

Dinwiddie scored 17 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including a four-point play that cut a seven-point deficit to 103-100 with 3:02 left. He hit a three-pointer from the corner with 2:10 left to pull the Nets within one, and made a three-pointer with 20 seconds left in regulation that tied the score at 110 before the Pistons’ Jackson missed on a drive at the buzzer.

After hitting what turned out to be the winning shot in overtime, Dinwiddie contested a desperation fadeaway jumper by Griffin at the buzzer.

“Spencer struggled in the first half,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, “but in the second half, he was phenomenal.”

As for the winning basket, Atkinson said he wanted the ball in Dinwiddie’s hands, but the Pistons’ defense blew up the play that was called. “That was him making something out of nothing,” Atkinson said.

Dinwiddie came into his own last season, a year after the Nets plucked him out of the G League, after injuries to point guards Jeremy Lin and Russell thrust him into the starting lineup. He excelled in several late-game situations and earned designation as a finalist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Earlier this season, Dinwiddie caught some flak for saying he always believes he’s the best player on the floor, but it’s part of the confident demeanor he dons like battle armor.

“That’s the type of chip on my shoulder I have,” Dinwiddie said. “I feel that’s the approach you have to have.”

Breaking down his game-winner, Dinwiddie said, “When I shot the shot, I didn’t think nothing of it except I was going to make it. I was like, ‘All right, [the defender] is probably thinking I’m going to drive. That’s probably the smart thing to do.’

“I’ve got a corner three. I hit him with the right step-back. He’s going to have a late contest. All I’ve got to do is shoot. It’s just me and the rim. If I get my follow-through right, my arc right, he ain’t going to do nothing about it.”

Focused on snapping their losing streak, the Nets jumped out to a 15-point lead midway through the first quarter. But they quickly gave that up and trailed by 10 in the third and still were down nine in the fourth. But they chipped away, getting stops and rebounds down the stretch.

“It’s huge for us in terms of maturation,” Harris said. “We’ve been through this experience a lot. We had a lot of close games last season, and a lot of close ones this year. Being able to close it out is big for morale and confidence going forward.”

It’s early in the season, but with a tough schedule coming up, the Nets passed a gut check.

“That was the thing that made this win really big for us —  the losing streak,” Dinwiddie said. “We’re trying to be a good team and change the tide of Nets teams of the past. You’ve got to learn how to get out of a rut quickly.”

New York Sports