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New York, New York: What we learned from a rare NBA doubleheader

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Black Friday offered NBA fans in the Big Apple a rare treat: the chance to take in two games in one day.

Between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets playing at Barclays Center on Friday afternoon and the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks squaring off at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, fans could — if they chose — take in four of the five Atlantic Division teams simply by taking a quick subway ride.

In the middle of a timeout during the Celtics-Nets game, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving stood on the court laughing and joking with each other.

Unfortunately for the Nets, though, they did so wearing suit jackets and slacks.

But while Durant, Irving and Caris LeVert continue to sit out with injuries, Brooklyn earned a 112-107 victory over Boston thanks to standout showings from Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen — the kind that allow the Nets to hope they can continue their recent hot streak once they begin to get their big names back on the court.nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Nets are now 6-2 without Irving after Friday’s win — a stretch during which Dinwiddie has taken on the challenge of being the team’s lead playmaker with aplomb.2

“Just continuing to progress every year,” said Dinwiddie, who had 32 points and 11 assists Friday and is averaging 24.5 points and 7.8 assists since Irving left the lineup. “I was just trying to strike a balance tonight between passing and scoring and figure out my role as it continues to shift around when we get healthy and aren’t injured.”

Dinwiddie has played alongside Irving plenty so far this season, too — just as he did alongside D’Angelo Russell last season — and that will continue once Irving comes back. Dinwiddie’s size and length at 6-foot-6 make him a perfect complement to Irving.

Allen, though, will not be playing next to DeAndre Jordan, the man he’s alternated time with this season — which is why his play during this streak, in which he’s averaged 15.6 points and 12.6 rebounds while shooting 72.5% from the floor, has the Nets so excited about what lies ahead.

“[Nets coach] Kenny [Atkinson] challenged him in film one game to not be as up and down, but to just be up, and to play at that level,” forward Garrett Temple told ESPN. “‘We see that you can and we need you to be at that level to be successful,’ and he’s taken that challenge head-on and he’s been amazing.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“I think he understands what he can do, and he’s stepped into that role. ‘I can be this dominant inside and my team needs me to be dominant so I’m going to be dominant like that.'”

The Nets still have plenty to sort out. The offense will inevitably look different whenever Irving comes back — which, after he returned to on-court work Friday, appears to be getting closer. LeVert’s return will come a couple weeks after that. But, as they wait for those guys to return, the Nets have to feel good about what they are seeing in their absence.

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