ATLANTA — The Nets’ Sunday loss to the Hawks was decided by the only star left involved, a game-winning buzzer beater by Trae Young. 

But it was all the 50-50 calls down the stretch that Spencer Dinwiddie said underscored his point about just how much the Nets will miss having superstars. 

The Nets are 1-4 since trading Kevin Durant. And while Dinwiddie says he, Cam Thomas, Mikal Brides or any of a number of Nets can hit a clutch shot, he readily admits they’re not going to get the benefit of star treatment in those key fourth-quarter minutes that set up any such last-second finale. 

Like Dinwiddie dunking on Onyeka Okongwu with 9:13 left, getting fouled but getting hit with a technical for saying “and one.” Or Young making nine free throws, including several on his same rip-through move. Or Dinwiddie being afraid to challenge the Hawks star with force on his game-winner at the buzzer. 

Spencer Dinwiddie reacts during the Nets’ loss to the Hawks on Feb. 26.

Spencer Dinwiddie
Spencer Dinwiddie believes the Nets will no longer get superstar treatment from refs.
Getty Images

“I have a lot of last-second shots or game-winners, but it’s the lead up that’s the tough part without superstars. That’s what people miss,” said Dinwiddie. “If [someone] tries to climb KD’s back, they’re going to call it. If KD says and-one, they’re not giving him a tech. All these things change the flow of the game. [Stars] can cuss them out, they can do whatever, and they’ll let all that s–t slide.

“That’s where you miss the superstars, especially in the fourth quarter. The stretch from six minutes to 30 [seconds] left, that’s really where you miss it. If you get fouled, if you get touched, you’re going to get the call. Every time me and Trae Young did the same move, he gets free throws. On my end, they’re like ‘Are you really shooting it?’ Well, what else was I doing? They’re like ‘I don’t know. It’s bang-bang.’ Remember that happened to me four times; that’s eight free throws. The game isn’t close. We lose by two; I had eight free throws. Trae Young got it every time.” 

Jacque Vaughn stuck with the same lineup, and implied he likes Thomas in his bench role. The second-year guard had 22 points, 11 coming in an 18-7 run over the final 5 ¹/₂ minutes of the first half. He went a perfect 9 of 9 from the charity stripe. 

“When I look at it, there’s a difference between starting and playing against other starters and who you have to guard on the other end as a starter,” Vaughn said. “I think about that piece of it.” 

Cam Johnson had 27 points, the third-highest-scoring performance of his career. It also marked his first time topping 20 for Brooklyn. 

Bridges had 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting, lifting his average with the Nets to 22.4 on stellar .513/.480/.917 shooting splits.