Dinwiddie adds to big week with 27, Nets’ win streak at 4
The Washington Wizards sounded like a team that may be breaking up.
Dinwiddie scored 27 points in his first game since signing a three-year contract extension, and the Nets beat the Wizards 125-118 on Friday night for their season-best fourth straight victory.
The Wizards then returned to their locker room following their fourth straight loss to an ESPN.com report that the team was working on a trade involving Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre Jr. with the team 11-18.
A later report said the deal had fallen through, but that was after Rivers — who wasn’t aware of all the details — believed he was departing. He said he was disappointed in part because he had just moved after being dealt from the Clippers to the Wizards over the summer.
“More so you just want things to work,” he said. “When I got traded, they traded for me for a reason so you’d like to see it work out.”
Things are working out great for Dinwiddie, who has starred as a sixth man this season and settled the Nets down in the fourth quarter after their 16-point lead was cut to four.
“It was nice to see him after everything that’s happened. I thought he took it to another level, defensively and offensively,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He was outstanding all around. You definitely see the growth, the maturity and quite honestly leadership capabilities. He’s getting better every day.”
Joe Harris added 19 points for the Nets, who put up a season-high 70 points in the first half but had to withstand Washington’s fourth-quarter charge.
Dinwiddie halted the Wizards’ run with a basket and some free throws, and Harris added some clutch baskets down the stretch as the Nets held on to remain unbeaten since a players-only film session after a collapse and loss to Oklahoma City on Dec. 5.
“Now we’re kind of rolling a little bit,” Dinwiddie said. “Let’s keep it going. Let’s never get too high or too low.”
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Nets, who shot 52 percent from the field.
Bradley Beal had 31 points and nine assists for the Wizards, while John Wall had 17 points and 13 assists.
Dinwiddie finished right at the 27 points he averaged in the first three games of the win streak. He had a career-high 39 off the bench Wednesday in Philadelphia and the next day agreed in principle to the extension worth about $34 million.
His layup with 42 seconds left was the last basket of the third quarter and gave the Nets their largest lead of the game at 101-85. The Wizards cut it to four a few times, the last when Beal’s basket with 4 ½ minutes left made it 113-109, but the Nets scored nine straight to push the lead back to 13.
“The defense just isn’t there,” Beal said. “We weren’t guarding.”
Washington held the Nets to a season-low 88 points in a Dec. 1 home victory but couldn’t slow them down this time. The Nets scored 43 points in the second quarter and led 70-59 at halftime. They were 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the period.
Wizards: F Otto Porter Jr. missed the game with a bruised right knee. … Markieff Morris scored 15 points and Austin Rivers had 14.
Nets: Allen Crabbe, who has been starting in place of Caris LeVert, missed the game with a sore right knee. Atkinson said Crabbe had banged it and expected it to be a short-team absence. … Rookie second-round pick Rodions Kurucs of Latvia made his first career start and scored 15 points.
The Nets held a moment of silence before the game for Tim Bassett, who died Sunday at 67. Bassett played from the Nets from 1975-79, winning an ABA championship in 1976 and serving as the team’s captain when they moved to the NBA and New Jersey.
The Nets announced that Dinwiddie had signed his extension Friday afternoon after the sides had agreed in principle a day earlier. The 6-foot-6 guard came into the game averaging a career-best 16.9 points and the Nets believe he can continue to improve the way he has in the previous two years.
“I don’t see why he can’t keep trending upwards,” Atkinson said. “He’s got all the tools.”
Wizards: Host Lakers on Sunday.
Nets: Host Atlanta on Sunday.