Nets Beat Bulls Without Kyrie Irving

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NBAE via Getty Images

Spencer Dinwiddie isn’t trying to be Kyrie Irving. Still, he gave the Brooklyn Nets the spark they needed Saturday night.

Dinwiddie scored 24 points and the Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 117-111 without Irving.

Irving entered Saturday sixth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game but sat with a right shoulder injury. Brooklyn was just fine without the All-Star guard as Dinwiddie stepped into the starting lineup.

“I’m not Kyrie, you know what I mean?” Dinwiddie said. “I just tried to gauge what needed to be done to win the game.”

Zach LaVine scored 36 points, but Chicago shot 35.2% from the field, 23.1% from 3-point range and committed 20 turnovers.

Joe Harris had 22 points and eight assists for Brooklyn, which snapped a three-game skid. The short-handed Nets are also without Caris LeVert, who’s recovering from right thumb surgery.

“Fifteen guys bonded together, and I don’t think it was pretty,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Your best player’s out — let’s be honest — and everybody steps it up a level. It’s really a real boost to our morale.”

The lead changed hands five times in the fourth, and Brooklyn pulled ahead for good on Dinwiddie’s dunk with 8:01 remaining. Dinwiddie scored 20 points in the fourth alone.

“He took over,” Atkinson said.

Chicago briefly got within three points with just under 3 minutes left, and Lauri Markkanen hit a fading 3-pointer to make it 113-111 with 8.8 seconds remaining. But Harris made two free throws and the Bulls never got the ball with a chance to tie it.

Wendell Carter Jr. added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who trailed by double digits early before using a 23-5 run in the second quarter to take the lead.

Chicago led from then until the fourth quarter but allowed 43 points in the final period.

“They just wanted it more than us,” LaVine said. “They made more plays to close out the third quarter and start the fourth.”

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