The Brooklyn Nets closed out their road trip in Dallas on Wednesday night. It was a close game throughout, but Brooklyn hung on for the 109-104 victory. Even with the never-ending free throw troubles.
The Mavs were blazing hot from the get-go, beginning the game shooting 6-of-9 from the field (including two triples). Dallas’ bigs, Dirk Nowitzki and Maxi Kleber, each contributed three field goals in the opening four and a half minutes. The Nets found themselves with an early 14-7 deficit, but answered back with a 9-2 run, powered by none other than Tyler Zeller. Check out this left-handed slam by Zeller. Wowza.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 30, 2017
The first quarter was represented by — you guessed it — more runs. Dallas responded with a 9-0 run of its own. (Maxi Kleber is a very, very good player.) Brooklyn followed with another burst (this time, 6-0). This run included a crazy Isaiah Whitehead “Cyclone” move:
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 30, 2017
The period closed on a buzzer-beating layup by the Mavs’ Dwight Powell, extending their lead to 27-21.
Dallas continued to pull away toward the beginning of the second quarter, going up 36-28 with 8:49 remaining. The Nets’ crisp ball movement was what helped them climb back, eventually evening up the game at 38. On 20 converted field goals in the first half, 15 of them were assisted. That’s right, fifteen.
Back-to-back threes — one from Caris LeVert and another from Spencer Dinwiddie — (finally) gave the Nets the lead, 44-40. The game shifted back and forth for the remainder of the half, but Brooklyn still held a 48-47 advantage at the break.
Brooklyn used this momentum for most of the third quarter, despite losing the lead in the first couple of minutes. DeMarre Carroll led the way with numerous shots and by doing the “little things,” like he always does. Spencer Dinwiddie was also significant in this period, whether it was his and-1 plays or a gorgeous dish to Zeller that resulted in another and-1. All of these buckets contributed to the Nets’ 80-76 lead at the end of the third.
And here we go again, the beloved tight game in the fourth quarter. Things got a bit tricky when Dinwiddie picked up his fifth personal foul with 5:48 remaining. He responded by converting on yet another and-1 play, because that is just what the Mayor does. Moments later, Carroll went down hard after bumping into Salah Mejri, but got right back up. Nothing fazed Junkyard Dog tonight.
How many times have I said “and-1” already? A lot, but Trevor Booker had two of his own (despite missing the free throw on the second), giving Brooklyn a 97-89 lead. Harrison Barnes answered back with two easy shots of his own, trimming the Mavs’ deficit to just four points with 3:17 left.
The Nets remained afloat and even held a comfortable 101-93 lead with 2:41 left, thanks in large part to Booker, Dinwiddie and Carroll. A dagger came with 1:32 remaining, as Joe Harris canned an open shot from downtown to give Brooklyn a 106-97 advantage. JJ Barea mirrored Joe Harris just moments later, knocking down a trey of his own.
Out of a Nets timeout, Dinwiddie was unfortunately the culprit of a backcourt violation, resulting in a Brooklyn turnover. Dallas took advantage on the other end, with Barea finishing on a layup to trim the Nets’ lead to 106-102.
On the next Nets possession, Dinwiddie ran out much of the shot clock, but was unable to finish on a three-pointer (and also did not get a foul called). Dallas got within two points off a Devin Harris shot with 18 seconds to go. Fortunately, despite Joe Harris not being able to give Brooklyn a four-point lead (by hitting only one of his two free throws), Booker was able to attain the rebound.
Deja vu on the next pair of free throws, as Dinwiddie missed both (ugh!), and Booker got the rebound for the team again (yay!). This time, when Dinwiddie was fouled yet again, he made both free throws. Big ones, as the Nets escaped with the win.
DeMarre Carroll Small Forward
22 PTS, 7-14 FG, 4-7 3PT, 7 REB, 2 TOV, 34 MIN
Junkyard Dog was scorching. Like, really scorching. Even a hard fall in the fourth quarter did not stop him.
Tyler Zeller Center
9 PTS, 4-6 FG, 1-3 FT, 7 REB, 3 TOV, 22 MIN
This might not look like an impressive stat line, but believe me, Tyler Zeller was significant tonight. Who knew he had that in him?
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
13 PTS, 5-13 FG, 2-3 3PT, 6 REB, 5 AST, 0 TOV, 28 MIN
Caris LeVert looks more comfortable on the court with every game that passes. Hopefully it remains that way and the shooting woes are no more!
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
19 PTS, 6-15 FG, 2-6 3PT, 5-8 FT, 7 REB, 4 AST, 1 TOV, 1 BLK, 33 MIN
Even with the missed free throws late in the game, Spencer Dinwiddie was fantastic as a scorer and playmaker. The usual.
Trevor Booker Power Forward
16 PTS, 8-13 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FT, 10 REB, 3 TOV, 28 MIN
Trevor Booker was the game-changer late in the game, providing all the “little” things like the two rebounds in the final seconds. He was the savior to the Nets’ damn free throw woes. Can’t ask for anything better than that.