Former-Net Spencer Dinwiddie hits game-winner, leading Mavs over Nets 113-111
Luka Doncic took control during the first half, continuing an extremely impressive streak from the Slovakian superstar. In his past four games, Luka is averaging just shy of 31 (30.8) points per game, has 11 rebounds per game, and 6.25 assists. In the month of March alone, Doncic has dropped three straight games of 30+ points and he has another game with 41 points. Luka continued this madness tonight, and had 24 points at the half. Everyone assumed if anyone would drop 50, it would be Kevin Durant, who partook in the first back-to-back 50 point outing by any teammates this past weekend, but Luka Doncic was the player most likely to hit that mark tonight.
Late in the second quarter, Luka and the Mavericks finished out the half strong. With 12 straight points, Luka was able to put his entire offensive arsenal on display. He was hitting shots from inside, from the line, and from downtown. This inspired run brought the Mavs within five, and essentially allowed Dallas to get back in the game. Luka didn’t have much help either. Spencer Dinwiddie, who the Mavericks dealt for Porzingis, is usually Luka’s partner in crime in the backcourt. However, he was nonexistent in the first half, and shot 0-3 from the field. The former-net is usually a much better player (especially offensively), and the Mav’s missed his play tonight. Jalen Brunson was the only other Maverick to hit double digit scoring in the first half, with 10 points.
For Brooklyn, it wasn’t Kevin Durant, but actually their rebounding and interior play. With Dallas blitzing Durant the way they doubled Curry, it was tough for him to find any space at all. These doubles lead to plenty of space down low, for guys like Andre Drummond or Bruce Brown to cut and take advantage of. Brooklyn had five more offensive rebounds in the first half and Drummond had a double-double at halftime (16 boards early in the third). Scoring-wise, it was Goran Dragic who took on a majority of the workload. Until 7:00 in the third, Kevin Durant didn’t hit a shot from the first quarter. Drummond’s 10 points, which were generated off of demoralizing second-chance opportunities, were still not enough to top Dragic’s team-leading 14 points at the half.
In the third, Luka continued to be a one man show, and still wasn’t enough to beat this Nets team.The Nets continued to dominate down low, and also stepped up their defense. Patty Mills was able to convert on a fastbreak, hitting Claxton while he was cutting for a no-look pass. Claxton took a power dribble or two, and then finished with a highlight-worthy slam to cap off a 7-0 Brooklyn run. In this run, Dallas had three straight turnovers, and Brooklyn continued to utilize Kevin Durant as a Trojan Horse, in an effort to create easy layups for Bruce Brown, who had a fantastic game tonight. Bruce Brown took advantage of the opportunity, and had 15 points 6 rebounds, and three assists at the third quarter. By the end of the third, the Nets had 8 more offensive rebounds and 5 more assists than the Mavericks. Considering they were without Kyrie, on a back-to-back, and Durant had nowhere near an impact offensively as he usually does, it was an extremely impressive performance from the Brooklyn Nets. After being tied in the third quarter, the Nets blew the game up by 14 points, which was the largest lead of the game.
With Luka off the bench to begin the forth, it was Spencer Dinwidde (and Jalen Brunson) who was carrying most of the offense, as opposed to the Luka-or-bust method utilized by Dallas through the first three quarters. Dinwiddie scored a few buckets, finishing at the rim like he normally does, and also hit Dwight Powell down low on a nice dime, for an and one. Dinwiddie also hit a high-arching three pointer on the wing, to bring the game within five. Brooklyn went on a scoring drought at this time, for nearly three minutes, and Dinwiddie and Brunson continued to attack the rim. But, Bruce Brown’s strong play and Dragic’s offense got them back in the game. Bruce Brown’s offensive rebound, extended a play, and then allowed Dragic to finish a nice post move down low. The following possession, Brown assisted the next Nets basket, tying it up. After an unreal Doncic turnaround shot, another offensive board by Claxton re-tied the game at 108. Luke hit another insane fadeaway shot for his 37th and final point, but Durant responded and knocked down a three over two defenders with 10 seconds left. That shot put the Nets up one, but Spencer Dinwiddie ended up winning the game on a buzzer beater three. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season, and the former Net hit the game winning shot to put Dallas up 113-111.
Despite hardly aiding Luka's 37-point performance through 3/4 of the game, Dinwiddie managed to hit the shot of the night and seal the comeback victory. This win marks the third straight for the Mavericks, and they head into Philly Friday for another tough Eastern Conference matchup. As for Brooklyn, there were a ton of bright spots for them, despite losing. Drummond continued to be a menace on the boards, Bruce Brown had a fantastic game cutting, and finding open space and people for the bucket, and Dragic was very solid. Brooklyn also had a huge contribution from Kessler Edwards, who hit two threes and continues to act like one of the best three point shooters in this rookie class. Brooklyn welcomes Portland at home Friday, at 7:30pm EST.