Tuesday’s gutsy game against the Celtics may just count as a single win in the Nets favor, but even a day after, Kenny Atkinson said an effort like the one they saw from the team’s little-used reserves could be a “program builder” that has the potential boost the franchise far into the future.
Though the star in Tuesday’s overtime victory was undoubtedly Caris LeVert and his 51 points, two-way players Chris Chiozza and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were instrumental in sparking the fourth-quarter rally, as a slew of Nets starters rode the bench during the closing minutes of regulation.
“It’s a boon to your program,” Atkinson said Wednesday, as the Nets got set to take on the Grizzlies as part of an away-home back-to-back. “You’ve got these guys that you’re working with, you’re trying to develop, young guys, no one really talks about them. They’re in Long Island, you know, where are they? And all of a sudden on the quote, unquote 'big stage' they step up and produce. That’s a program building and I’m very proud – proud of them and the work they put in and that they were ready in an NBA game environment.”
Chiozza hit a pivotal three, while Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 16. Just as importantly, with the game going to overtime, and the trip from Boston to Brooklyn, their contributions helped save the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie – not at his sharpest Tuesday — Jarrett Allen, and Taurean Prince. Atkinson underlined that nothing has changed with regard to Dinwiddie, whom he still considers his closer.
“Hopefully we get some money back,” with the rested players, Atkinson said. “Those guys didn’t play big minutes and they were great on the bench and supporting those guys. Listen, those guys have been doing it for a long period of time. They get it. They’ve been in that position before so, I think there’s some, hey, I kind of know what they’re going through and that support is – and it got better as the game went on. There’s just more and more involvement with our bench. That’s kind of cool, how it reversed there.”
Temple kept out
Nets guard Garrett Temple (sprained ankle) was held out of Wednesday's game against the Grizzlies.