Spencer Dinwiddie scores 30, leads Nets over Knicks 103-101

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NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving will miss at least two more games, sitting out trips to his old homes in Cleveland and Boston.

The way Spencer Dinwiddie is playing, it might not matter to the Brooklyn Nets.

“Just, difference-maker right now,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Dinwiddie scored 30 points in another strong start in place of the injured point guard and the Nets beat the New York Knicks 103-101 on Sunday for their season-high third straight victory.

Irving continues to rest an injured right shoulder, and Dinwiddie is making sure they get by without him, scoring 20 or more points in a career-best five straight games after stepping into the starting lineup. He was 13 of 14 from the foul line, where the Nets had a whopping 27-9 advantage in makes.

Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, and Taurean Prince added 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Joe Harris scored 13 points, with four coming after the Knicks had cut it to one with 1:20 remaining.

Marcus Morris scored 26 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. They played without rookie RJ Barrett. He was scratched after feeling sick before the game.

The Nets are missing their starting backcourt, with Caris LeVert out after right thumb surgery. But they have won four of five to even their record at 8-8.

“We don’t have some of our better players on the court but we’re still finding a way to win,” Allen said.

The biggest reason has been the play of Dinwiddie, who could go back to the bench as soon as Friday if Irving is cleared to return. Or, perhaps Atkinson could choose to start them together until LeVert is recovered.

“I’m not the coach, I don’t make those decisions,” Dinwiddie said. “If that’s the new role then that’s what I’ll do, and if it’s not then it’s not.”

The Nets opened a 29-15 lead, but struggled when Dinwiddie and Allen went to the bench and let the Knicks close the gap to 52-46 by halftime.

New York cut it to one after back-to-back 3s by Morris and another by Wayne Ellington, but Harris scored on a drive and later added a pair of free throws.

The Knicks had a much stronger effort than a night earlier, when they never led in a home loss to San Antonio. But they fell to 4-13 ahead of a tough five-game stretch against Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee and Denver.

“I embrace the challenge,” coach David Fizdale said. “I don’t feel like we need to be looking at that like that’s impossible. We’re going to take it a game at a time and continue to try to give ourselves a chance to win every night.”