Kyrie Irving wore a sports coat. He missed his eighth straight game. He missed his chance for revenge against his former fans.
Still, he could smile. Spencer Dinwiddie couldn’t miss much.
Less than 48 hours after leaving Boston with an 11-point loss — while leaving Irving upset at the avalanche of hate directed towards him — Dinwiddie helped the Nets salvage a home-and-home split with the Celtics by pouring in 32 points and a season-high 11 assists in Friday afternoon’s 112-107 win at Barclays Center.
Dinwiddie, who had averaged 23.4 points in the previous seven games Irving had been sidelined with a shoulder injury, bounced back from a 5-of-19 shooting effort in Boston — which ended a career-high six straight games with at least 20 points — and hit 6-of-8 3-pointers, while adding five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Meanwhile, Kemba Walker followed Wednesday’s 39-point performance with 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
The Nets (10-9) have won five of their past six games and return to action Sunday against the Heat.
The Nets led nearly the entire game, hitting five of their first six shots and finishing with 10 assists on their 13 first quarter field goals. After getting seven quick points off the bench from Iman Shumpert, the Nets stretched their lead to 29-15.
When Dinwiddie hit the bench, the offense went cold, allowing the Celtics (13-5) to take their first lead, 37-36, midway through the second quarter. But after breaking a near-four-minute scoreless stretch by the team, Dinwiddie awoke the crowd with an alley-oop to De’Andre Jordan. Dinwiddie followed with a block and assist on Theo Pinson for a 3-point play, as the Nets claimed a 56-45 lead with less than three minutes left in the half. Again, the Celtics closed strong, with Jayson Tatum scoring three of his 18 points with less than a second left to cut the Nets’ lead to 58-55 at the break.
While Jarrett Allen kept the Nets in front early in the third, Dinwiddie soon took over again, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and three free throws on three consecutive trips down the court to give Nets a 83-69 lead with 3:55 left in the third quarter. The Celtics chipped away again, cutting the deficit to three, before the quarter was over.
Garrett Temple again gave the Nets a double-digit lead with back-to-back 3-pointers. Dinwiddie added a corner 3 and another alley oop to Jordan to stretch it to 15 with less than eight minutes to play.
The Celtics managed to cut the lead to four in the final minute, but Joe Harris delivered a beautiful bounce pass to Allen for a dunk just before the shot clock expired with 34 seconds left.
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