CLEVELAND — For the first time in his career, Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Nov. 18-24 after leading the Nets to a 3-1 record while starting in place of injured Kyrie Irving. Dinwiddie averaged 25.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes per game, and his 30-point performance in a victory over the Knicks Sunday night at Madison Square Garden marked his career-best fifth straight game with at least 20 points.
“I’ve always said there’s great potential there,” coach Kenny Atkinson said before the Nets faced the Cavs Monday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. “But I do think the reward is doing it consistently, and he’s starting to prove it. I called him in mid-afternoon to congratulate him. He was taking his nap. Spencer is . . . kind of a LeBron, where you’re so obsessed with taking care of your body.
“I’m happy for him. All the hard work he puts in, all the sacrifices he makes. And of course, he’s got enormous talent. You get a reward like that, and I could see him just keep doing this.”
Beilein, Atkinson go back a long way
Former Michigan coach John Beilein who is a rookie NBA coach with the Cavs this season recalled his long-running association with the Nets’ Atkinson. “I watched him play actually in high school when I was coaching at LeMoyne,” Beilein said. “He was at St. Anthony’s on Long Island, and he had a dynamite team. He was a point guard, and then I followed him a little bit at Richmond.
“After he had become a top-flight guard in Europe after he left Richmond, he called me out of the blue. We started talking offense right from the beginning. We’ve been friends for a long time. He did his coaching retreat last year at Michigan on campus in our gym. (Former Richmond coach) Dick Tarrant was his coach and my mentor, and that triangle goes deep.”