Dinwiddie lifts Nets to 98-97 victory over Timberwolves
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 26 points and posted nine assists to lead the Nets to a 98-97 victory over the Timberwolves Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 30 points. Butler was an amazing 16-18 from the free-throw line.
The Nets performance from the three-point line was the difference in the contest. Brooklyn shot 14-30 (46.7%) while Minnesota made just one three-pointer on 11 attempts.
Brooklyn led by 10 points early in the third quarter but allowed Minnesota to comeback to take a two-point lead heading into the final period.
Dinwiddie answered with a difficult high-arching pull-up jumpshot from the left side to put the Nets back in front 96-94.
Tyus Jones turned the ball over on the next possession, giving the Nets the ball up two with 55 seconds remaining.
Brooklyn failed to capitalize on Jones' mistake as DeMarre Carroll stepped out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Timberwolves. Brooklyn committed 19 turnovers in the game.
On the following possession, Quincy Acy was called for an away from the play foul on Jones. The rule for an away from the play foul states that a foul before the ball is inbounded in the final two minutes of any period will be penalized with one free throw and retainment of possession.
Butler made the free throw to cut the deficit to one. Minnesota got the ball back and Acy fouled Bulter off a backdoor pass from Karl-Anthony Towns with 33 seconds remaining. Butler made both free throws to put the Timberwolves up one.
The Nets put the ball in Dinwiddie's hands once again. Dinwiddie got a switch off a Hollis-Jefferson screen, leaving him isolated with Taj Gibson. He drove left and drilled a fadeaway jump shot to pull the Nets back in front 98-97 with 9.7 seconds remaining.
Minnesota gave the ball to Butler with Carroll guarding him and the game on the line. Butler settled for a jump shot and missed, sealing a gritty home win for Brooklyn.
The Nets have been waiting for a clutch performance like this from Spencer Dinwiddie down the stretch of a close game. Dinwiddie has settled for deep threes on potential game-winning possessions in recent games, but on Wednesday Dinwiddie attacked the Timberwolves.
“We got the switch, me and Taj, I just drove left and he tried to cut me off a little bit, so I just went into a pullup," Dinwiddie said when asked about his game-winning shot.
Brooklyn fans also got to see a much anticipated home debut Wednesday night. Jahlil Okafor stepped onto the hardwood at the Barclays Center for the first time.
Okafor scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in 11 minutes of action. There is still clearly some rust on Okafor's game.
Kenny Atkinson stated that he is planning to play Okafor in limited minutes and hopes to build him up. “Like everyone, you got to earn it so let’s see it in small doses and hopefully build him up to bigger minutes,” Atkinson said.
The Nets have won three of their last four. They are playing with noticeably more energy and hustle throughout that stretch. Brooklyn will look to ride this momentum throughout the rest of a five-game homestand.
The Nets will have two days off to get ready for a matchup with the Boston Celtics Saturday night.