What. Just. Happened.
Live by the three, die by the three. Houston looked like it was going to get the last laugh, but Brooklyn was not going to die without trying.
Spencer Dinwiddie gave them a shot — no, he gave them a bomb! Bomb after bomb after unlikely bomb at the end of regulation to bring the Nets to overtime of a game they trailed by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter.
He was on fire. It was jaw-dropping.
It was a shot at overtime that no one saw coming — except the Nets, at least. And Brooklyn was down by as many as seven with 1:28 left in OT. It was starting to look unlikely.
But Treveon Graham answered immediately with a knock-down three, Jarrett Allen continued his dominance and Dinwiddie came up with a clutch and-one. There was no lack of confidence in those minutes.
The Nets got enough stops and stunned the Houston Rockets after 53 minutes. The crowd went from celebratory to dead silent.
Again, what just happened?
The Nets are now .500 (23-23) for the first time through 46 games since 2012-13, and seventh in the Eastern Conference in spite of James Harden’s 58 points. THAT’S what happened.
Let’s start out with the history made. The Rockets set the record for most three-point attempts with 70, and the teams set a record for most combined three-point attempts with 106 (they didn’t need overtime to set that record, either).
Those threes along with points in the paint powered the Nets to a strong start that brought them a 15-point lead in the first quarter. Team chemistry was clear and the defensive plan was working.
What started as dominance for Brooklyn turned into a game of runs. Houston went on a 17-2 run, the Nets then scored seven straight, Houston scored the next eight…
Yet still, Harden was quiet in the first half, scoring 14 points and going to the line just once.
Everyone knew that was going to change.
Harden went off for 22 points and 11 free throws in the third quarter, and continued to pour it on in the fourth. On Harden’s back and with more threes starting to fall, it felt like the Rockets were doing enough to finish the game out with a comfortable lead. A Brooklyn loss seemed almost inevitable.
But the pesky Nets wouldn’t go away.
While D’Angelo Russell had a strong start to the game, Kenny Atkinson ran with Spencer Dinwiddie for crunch time, who he recently said has been in a “slump.” Dinwiddie responded with 18 points in the fourth quarter and 25 points in the second half and overtime for one of the most incredible comebacks I’ve ever seen.
That moment when @SDinwiddie_25 took the game into his hands 😲 pic.twitter.com/UPM1Yyo4Xp
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 17, 2019
After making two impressive threes, Dinwiddie’s third three to tie the game came after P.J. Tucker missed two free throws with the Nets trailing by just one, but Brooklyn failed to rebound the ball. Harden then drained two at the line to put Houston up by three. The game seemed sealed after the Nets didn’t grab the rebound off two missed free throws that seemed like a gift.
Then Dinwiddie threw up the three in hopes of overtime.
Bang. That’s what made the comeback extraordinary, an answer after a missed opportunity. And Houston had time left, but didn’t answer in regulation.
But the doubt in regulation for the Nets to take and maintain a lead continued into overtime. The Rockets burst out in front coming off Dinwiddie’s three three-pointers, but Brooklyn’s key playmakers kept the foot on the gas.
Houston went up by as many as seven in overtime, but had no answers when Brooklyn threw some punches. The Rockets needed one more shot after Brooklyn took the lead on a Dinwiddie and-one, and they didn’t have it, even when a turnaround three-point attempt at the buzzer that would have tied it clanked off the rim. It came down to the wire — twice — but the Nets saved the best for last when it mattered most.
Brooklyn would not have won this game without Jarrett Allen, who put up a double-double in his first 16 minutes and finished with the first 20-20 game of his career with 20 points and 24 rebounds in his home of Texas. He had room to work with Clint Capela out due to a right thumb injury, and his teammates couldn’t have been happier for him.
Then Graham was also a hero, making a HUGE three in overtime and putting up his best effort throughout the game. Often he was the best Net on the floor, and he deserves the recognition.
It was a game that started as a dunk-athon, and ended in fireworks. This is one Brooklyn earned.
Nets fans have waited a long time for chemistry like this — and now it’s here.
As the Nets fought for and celebrated this one, they sent a message to the league: Watch out.
The stats: 33 PTS, 13-22 FG, 4-8 3PT, 3-4 FT, 2 REB, 10 AST, 4 TO, 32 MIN
Fear the Goatee. That is all.
Fear The Goatee | @SDinwiddie_25#SpencerDinwiddieHive pic.twitter.com/mQ7aIHUQMr
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 17, 2019
The first three was impressive. The second three gave hope. The third three?
Dinwiddie never thought it was over, and him putting up 18 points in the fourth made up arguably the best moment of the season for this team.
A big-time player. No two ways around it.
The stats: 21 PTS, 7-9 FG, 3-4 3PT, 4-5 FT, 5 REB, 2 TO, 32 MIN
Treveon Graham had his best game of the season, by far. He just put his head down and got to work.
Scoring in double digits for the first time as a Net, Graham finally gave his team the shooting prowess it has expected of him.
As Ian Eagle said, Graham is a “reservoir of energy.” After scoring a career-high tonight, the Nets hope he can continue this type of contribution.
The stats: 20 PTS, 10-19 FG, 0-3 3PT, 0-1 FT, 24 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK, 43 MIN
His first 20-20 game in his home state in arguably the biggest game of the year. Jarrett’s paint presence was HUGE, pulling down six offensive rebounds and getting three blocks as well.
Did we mention this happened?
✓ A double-double in 16 minutes of play
✓ A block on James Harden
Add him to the list 🚫 pic.twitter.com/aJGiQebl8s
— Elizabeth Swinton (@eswint22) January 17, 2019
The Fro was big-time, and he deserves the praise.
The stats: 22 PTS, 6-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 6-7 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 35 MIN
Before Dinwiddie came alive in the fourth quarter, DeMarre Carroll had the biggest impact off the bench. He made his threes early that got Brooklyn off to a quick and efficient start.
As the Nets were down 14 in the fourth quarter, DeMarre never quit. He kept bringing the hustle and gave the Nets reason that storming back was a possibility.
Dinwiddie made the big shots, but DeMarre brought the hustle and belief. His importance cannot be understated.
The stats: 10 PTS, 4-11 FG, 2-7 3PT, 3 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 28 MIN
D’Angelo did not have his best game, even though he did have a good start. He ended up sitting on the bench in crunch time as Atkinson gave the keys to Dinwiddie.
What I loved seeing from D’Angelo was how happy he was as the Nets fought their way back. The entire bench was absolutely giddy — you’ve never seen a happier group.
That @BrooklynNets vs Rockets OT though 😱#NETSonYES pic.twitter.com/Xx3maOLi14
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 17, 2019
Who can blame them? The team fights, and it paid off.
And it ended with D’Angelo pouring a cup of water over Dinwiddie’s head. That’s chemistry, and what makes Brooklyn a fun watch and easy team to root for.