CHICAGO — For the second straight game, coach Kenny Atkinson successfully used a three-point guard lineup featuring D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Shabazz Napier during key stretches of the Nets’ 117-100 win over the Bulls on Sunday afternoon at United Center.
All were on the floor together in the spurts when the Nets pushed their lead to 12 points in the second and third quarters, but this time Atkinson finished with Russell and Napier, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter.
“We have so much speed,” Atkinson said of that lineup. “What I’m surprised about is how seamless it is. You would think you would have three guards running back to try to get the ball. But that’s our ideal scenario where we have multiple ballhandlers and they can play different positions. They’ve embraced that and seem like they’re enjoying it. It’s been good for us.”
Russell led the Nets with 28 points and Napier had 20. Dinwiddie scored only seven, but Atkinson credited his defense with slowing down Zach LaVine.
In that lineup, DeMarre Carroll moves to power forward to space the floor. “It’s great,” said Carroll, who had 20 points. “When you’ve got four guys out there that can shoot the three-ball, it’s kind of hard to guard. Then you’ve got three other guys that can penetrate, it’s even more hard to guard.”
When told that Atkinson said he sat back and let the Nets go on autopilot at the end, Russell said, “That’s a heck of a compliment, especially when you’ve got three guards out there. Coach calls them the ‘quarterbacks,’ and we consider ourselves the best three quarterbacks in the NBA. We feel like we all can drive that. For him to sit back and give us that leash to do that, everybody is trying to take advantage of it. We’re winning, so it’s just keeping that trust.”