Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie reacts to a referee late...

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie reacts to a referee late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

DETROIT — It turns out Spencer Dinwiddie was right.

Dinwiddie was adamant Tuesday night that he had been fouled by Anthony Edwards with 8.7 seconds left in the Nets' loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the Nets trailing by three points and the shot clock turned off, Dinwiddie rose up for what could have been a game-tying shot. Instead, Edwards went up for the block, knocking the ball into the stands.

“He hit me on the elbow,” Dinwiddie said. “You saw it.”

The referees apparently did not, but the league office did. Wednesday, shortly before the Nets tipped off against the Detroit Pistons, the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report was released. It confirmed that Edwards “makes contract with Dinwiddie’s arm during his upward shooting motion and the contact affects his jump shot attempt.”

The report was no big surprise to Nets coach Jacque Vaughn.

 “We all saw it,” Vaughn said. “We all knew from the way Spencer responded that he knew he got fouled.”

Had Edwards been called for the foul, Dinwiddie would have been sent to the line with a chance to tie the game. Instead, after Dinwiddie missed another three-pointer, the Nets were forced to foul Edwards and he hit both to clinch a 107-102 win.

The loss was potentially costly and put extra pressure on the team to win Wednesday night. The Nets entered the game barely holding on to the sixth and final playoff spot with just a one-game lead over seventh-place Miami.

It also overshadowed what had been another terrific game for Dinwiddie, who poured in a game-high 30 points and dished out six assists.

Dinwiddie’s play has been instrumental in this group of Nets coming together after the trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The Nets have put four new starters around center Nic Claxton, and Dinwiddie has had to learn about them all on the fly.

“Yeah, it's a difficult job,” Vaughn said when asked about Dinwiddie’s steadying influence. “And because it's a balance of, like, he was our leading scorer last night and sometimes that won't happen. And acknowledging what the game needs and what he needs to do in order to get us in a position to win. So that's complicated.

“I think our system is built around multiple people handling the basketball, multiple people making plays, and so he becomes a distributor at times and also a guy who has to do it himself sometimes, and recognize what needs to be done. So, not an easy job; but he's done a heck of a job of putting us in the right position.”

Since the trade that brought Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and a bunch of draft picks to the Nets for Irving in February, the 6-foot-5 Dinwiddie has been averaging 8.6 assists for the Nets. That’s more than three more than the 5.3 he was averaging in Dallas and almost two more than his best year as a pro when he averaged 6.8 in 2019-20 in his first stint with the Nets.

Dinwiddie led the league in assists in the month of March with 146, besting his career high for any month by far. Previously, his best assist total had been 106 in December 2017.

Notes & quotes. Vaughn challenged his team before the Pistons game to quickly put the loss to the Timberwolves behind them. Said Vaughn: “I told our guys you are going to have to choose hard. You can say it’s hard to play back-to-back. If that’s what you choosing to acknowledge as being hard, there’s some other things that I would acknowledge as being hard on this world to do on a daily basis. We have an opportunity to play the game of basketball, to rectify the loss of yesterday and collectively get a win.”…. Finney-Smith was ruled out for the Detroit game with a bruised right wrist.

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