Dinwiddie scored a career-high 25 points hours after Russell’s operation, and the Nets beat the Utah Jazz 118-107 on Friday night.
“I think as a starter, and as a point guard in my position, you try to lead,” Dinwiddie said. “I didn’t do anything different because of the surgery. I’d like to think that we won for him though, because our hearts go out to him as our teammate and our brother.”
Allen Crabbe had 18 points and DeMarre Carroll added 17 for the Nets, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
The starting point guard role now belongs to Dinwiddie after Russell was hurt during Brooklyn’s recent road trip. He had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday with no timetable for a return.
Raul Neto scored 22 points and Rodney Hood had 17 points for the Jazz, who have lost seven of eight games.
“It’s obviously tough right now,” Jazz forward Joe Ingles said. “We’re missing some pretty big pieces of our team. It’s frustrating. No one is out there not trying. It’s just frustrating. We’ve just got to stick together.”
Utah cut the deficit to 89-80 entering the fourth quarter, but couldn’t draw closer.
“I think we showed great resiliency in that moment because sometimes young teams, teams that are ‘not as good’ fold in those situations under good defensive teams like Utah,” Dinwiddie said.
Brooklyn took a 73-51 lead in the third quarter. The 22-point lead was the largest for Brooklyn at any point this season.
Dinwiddie led Brooklyn with 13 points at the half as the Nets took a 65-49 lead into the locker room. Brooklyn’s 65 points marked the team’s highest scoring first half of the season. Rookie Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 10 points at the half.
Jazz: Mitchell made his first start at the point guard position this season. … Ricky Rubio (sore right Achilles), Thabo Sefolosha (sore right knee), Joe Johnson (right wrist tendon instability), Rudy Gobert (right tibia contusion) and Dante Exum (left shoulder surgery) were out.
Nets: General manager Sean Marks expects Russell to return this season and Marks said he will probably apply for a disabled player exception with Jeremy Lin out for the season. Lin ruptured his right patella tendon in the season opener.
Brooklyn scored 39 points in the first quarter, its most in any quarter this season.
Jazz: Visit Orlando on Saturday. Utah then wraps up its four-game road trip on Monday in Philadelphia.
Nets: Hosts Golden State on Sunday.
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