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Even without Dinwiddie, Nets’ bench too much for Knicks

January 26, 2019
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Brooklyn Nets' Shabazz Napier (13) keeps the ball away from New York Knicks' Mitchell Robinson (26) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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Brooklyn Nets' Shabazz Napier (13) keeps the ball away from New York Knicks' Mitchell Robinson (26) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Nets needed someone to come in and change the game, but the guy they normally turn to wasn’t available.

There were more than enough candidates left.

Theo Pinson, Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier carried a Nets bench that dominated the Knicks even without Spencer Dinwiddie, and Brooklyn beat New York 109-99 on Friday night for its sixth straight victory.

“We were losing. We had to do something and we wanted to come in and make a spark,” Pinson said.

Pinson, on a two-way contract, scored a career-high 19 points. Davis tied season highs with 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Napier added 18 points as the Nets’ reserves turned around the game even without Dinwiddie, their sixth man who has torn ligaments in his right thumb.

“It’s always tough when you lose some of your guys but like I said earlier, I think everybody understands that somebody can come contribute,” Napier said. “It may not be one person. It may be three people that can contribute what Spencer’s been doing.”

D’Angelo Russell had just 12 points, but Brooklyn put four reserves in double figures and had a 59-33 rebounding advantage while former Knicks starting center Enes Kanter sat out again as fans chanted for him at Barclays Center.

Trey Burke scored 25 points and Noah Vonleh had a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for the dismal Knicks, who have lost eight in a row and 21 of their last 23 games.

“They just wanted it more than us,” said Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who shot 2 for 14. “They got all the 50-50 basketballs. We’ve just got to match their intensity. They came out with a purpose and we didn’t.”

The Nets wrapped up the season series with the 19th victory in their last 24 games, a sizzling stretch that has brought hopes of playoff basketball to New York after both of the city’s teams missed the postseason the last three years.

The Nets are 27-23, their best 50-game record since going 29-21 in 2012-13, their first season since moving from New Jersey and making their home just a few miles from the Knicks. They won only 28 games all last season.

But they filled in some holes over the summer with players such as Davis and Napier, who have helped them overcome injuries, first to Caris LeVert and now Dinwiddie, who will need surgery at some point but so far was only ruled out for Friday’s game.

It was tied at 60 at halftime, with the Nets getting 42 of their points from the bench to erase an 11-point deficit.

“Guys are ready,” Davis said. “Theo showed that tonight. He came in, wasn’t for him in that first half we probably lose this game, so guys are ready.”

Brooklyn began to take control midway through the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth.

TIP-INS

Knicks: G Emmanuel Mudiay will miss at least two weeks with a strained left shoulder. The Knicks said Mudiay was hurt Wednesday in their loss to Houston and his injury was confirmed by an MRI exam. ... Frank Ntilikina started in Mudiay’s place and fouled out with four points in 18 minutes. ... Mitchell Robinson made both shots in the first half after going 11 for 11 over his previous three games.

Nets: The Nets signed Australian Mitch Creek, who had been playing with their G League team, to a 10-day contract Friday. He got into the game to take free throws for an injured Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the fourth quarter, making one of them.

SPENCER’S STATUS

The Nets are still consulting with doctors on the best course of action for Dinwiddie , who is averaging 17.2 points as one of the top reserves in the NBA this season. Coach Kenny Atkinson said it’s even possible Dinwiddie could keep playing and delay the surgery until the offseason, saying the decision would be made by doctors, Dinwiddie and his family.

CHANTING FOR KANTER

The Knicks’ bench was near a section of Nets fans who chanted Kanter’s name in the second straight game where he didn’t play. He acknowledged the cheers from his seat.

“I heard the fans chanting, ‘We want Enes! We need Enes!’ I want to appreciate the Nets fans for cheering like that. That’s love,” Kanter said. “They pay money to come watch us and they just don’t put me out there.”

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host Miami on Sunday.

Nets: Visit Boston on Monday.

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