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Nets History Spotlight: Spencer Dinwiddie Shoots Down Houston

Three 3-pointers in final 30 seconds force OT, and another comeback

There are comeback wins that are dogged marches, like the way the Brooklyn Nets climbed out of a 28-point hole in Sacramento last March. Then there are the lightning bolts, the shocking, instant turns of fortune. That’s what happened for the Nets in Houston on January 16, 2019 in their 145-142 win in Houston, a game that looked like the defining comeback of the season until the turnaround against the Kings two months later.

On Wednesday night at 8 p.m., YES Network will broadcast this Nets Classic, preceded by a new episode of YES We’re Here at 7 p.m. — also repeated at 7:30 p.m. — featuring former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks, who was part of the front office staff for the 2002 and 2003 Eastern Conference champions, and will talk about the team’s move to Brooklyn in 2012.

The Nets arrived in Houston coming off a home win against Boston. Five weeks earlier, they had been at a low point, 8-18 after an eight-game losing streak. But they followed that up with a season-changing seven-game win streak, propelling them to a 14-5 mark in their last 18 games before taking on the Rockets.

The win in Houston would even the Nets at 23-23 for the season, and they would extend the two big wins against the Celtics and Rockets into a six-game win streak that would lift them to what would be a season-high four games over .500 at 27-23 on Jan. 25. The 19-5 run from Dec. 7 to Jan. 25 that included the win in Houston would power the Nets to a 42-40 record, a 14-win improvement over the previous season, and their first playoff berth since 2015.

But in the final minutes in Houston that night, nothing was looking that promising.

The Nets had been up by 15 in the first quarter, only to watch the Rockets take a 46-45 lead. A 13-2 run carried the Nets to a 62-54 halftime lead, and that early back-and-forth was such a preview of the big swings to come in the final minutes.

REVISIT THE RALLY, SHOT FOR SHOT

The Rockets surged into the lead in the third quarter, and were still up by 14 with five minutes to go, only to watch the Nets outscore them 30-16 to the end of regulation and force overtime. It was still an 11-point Houston lead with under three minutes to go, and it was 127-119 Rockets with just over a minute remaining.

It took three Spencer Dinwiddie 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds of regulation to force overtime. The first made it a 128-125 game on a quick trigger after an inbounds pass. James Harden made 1-of-2 free throws for the Rockets, and Dinwiddie hit again from 27-feet out to make it 129-128 with 21 seconds left.

This time, Harden made both free throws. But Dinwiddie attacked and quickly pulled up from 28 feet to tie the game with 8.4 seconds remaining. Harden’s 3-pointer was off the mark, and the teams went to overtime.

Down again in overtime, 142-135, the Nets outscored the Rockets 10-0 to the buzzer. Treveon Graham’s 3-pointer got things started. Jarrett Allen scored, drew a foul, missed the free throw, and Graham grabbed the rebounds. Dinwiddie took advantage of the extra possession with a drive for a three-point play that put Brooklyn up for good, 143-142.

In scoring 16 points in the final five minutes of regulation, Dinwiddie finished with 33 points, shooting 13-for-22 and 4-for-8 from 3-point range with 10 assists. Allen had a monster 20-point, 24-rrebound double-double. DeMarre Carroll had 22 points on 4-of-6 3-pointers, and Graham had 21 points.

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