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Nets gut out overtime victory over Timberwolves, 124-121


These are the types of games the Nets are going to have to get used to.

The gritty, ugly, grind-it-out performances have become part of the fabric of the identity the Nets must assume if they’re going to salvage the second half of what was once a season with championship expectations.

That’s what it took to get back on track and secure a 124-123 overtime victory over Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

The Nets got gritty in their win over the Timberwolves.

“Coming into a hostile environment against a good western conference opponent — it’s a testament to our mental toughness,” starting guard Spencer Dinwiddie said in his walk-off postgame interview.

It’s the fifth time the Nets have rallied back from down double-digits to create a single-possession game down the stretch since the trade deadline.

And in the end, it was defense — not shot-making — that won a game down the stretch.

The Nets denied Edwards an opportunity to shoot on the final possession of overtime. At the end of the fourth quarter, the Nets got back-to-back stops on Edwards — first a strip steal by Spencer Dinwiddie, then a heavy contest on a running floater in the game’s final possessions — before losing Naz Reid, who hit a buzzer-beating three to tie the game at 114 and send it into overtime.

The defense was the through line for a Nets team that fell into a 12-point hole in the second quarter. The Nets held the Wolves to just 20 points in the third quarter.

It was an impressive performance from a Nets team whose bench scored an historic 98 points in a late rally that fell short against the Bucks the night before.

Head coach Jacque Vaughn sat almost every key rotation player against the Bucks on Thursday. Jacque Vaughn sat Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith against the Bucks. Mikal Bridges only played the first quarter against the Bucks before playing 47 of 53 possible minutes against the Timberwolves on Friday.

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Bridges scored a game-high 34 points and shot 13-of-24 from the field and four-of-eight from downtown. He outplayed Edwards, who finished with 32 points on 12-of-26 shooting and struggled to get his shots to fall down the stretch.

Cam Johnson added 15 points and left the game briefly after taking an elbow to the face. Seven different Nets, including the entire starting five, scored in double figures.

Dinwiddie played one of his best games this time around in a Nets jersey. He created Brooklyn’s final two baskets in overtime on drive and kick threes — first finding Bridges on a three to tie the game at 121 apiece, then delivering a dime to Finney-Smith, who was wide-open in the corner for the go-ahead triple.

The Nets then forced the ball out of Edwards’ hands on the game’s final possession.

Veteran Wolves guard Mike Conley had his side-step three blocked at the buzzer.

The Nets have now won four of their last five games and travel to Denver on Sunday to take on the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and a Nuggets team expected to come out of the Western Conference as championship contenders.

After struggling on the road, the Nets have won three of their last four games in opponent territory.


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