Spencer Dinwiddie may be sorry, but he’s also not overly concerned.
Yes, he had one of his worst offensive games of the season Wednesday against the Grizzlies, and despite his assertions to the contrary, didn’t look as sharp as maybe he could have Tuesday against the Celtics. But the Nets point guard — the one who has all but taken this team on his back while Kyrie Irving struggled with injury — doesn’t think that the last few games are a sign of anything bigger, and his coach is inclined to agree with him.
“I’m sorry — deeply, Nets fans, I’m sorry,” Dinwiddie said Wednesday night after scoring just four points in a blowout loss to the Grizzlies, his lowest total in any game this season. “I’ve seen people kind of talk about my offensive output in Boston, I mean I had 14 and four in like 20 minutes. Not bad, guys, that’s not bad. Granted — don’t get me wrong — Boston should be all about Caris [LeVert], he had 51 [points] and the crazy comeback win. But the stigma of like ‘Spencer played bad in Boston’ is not quite accurate. [Wednesday night] is a totally different story. But you know, played all 61 games we had.”
And despite benching Dinwiddie down the stretch during Tuesday's overtime victory, Kenny Atkinson remains unwavering in his trust. Dinwiddie, he said, still is a closer, and though the Nets have had five losses in the last six games, that’s no reason to change that particular facet of their game.
“Spencer obviously has closed many games for us, made big plays at the end of the game, so that doesn’t change after one night,” Atkinson said. “You just get back on the horse the next night . . . You’re not going to be on every single night and he’s had really big games before so I expect him to get back on to what he’s been doing all year and play well.”
And frankly, in the second game of an away/home back-to-back, almost no one played well for the Nets. Yes, LeVert was consistent, and two-way player Chris Chiozza continued to be a fun revelation off the bench during a particularly brutal stretch, but the four other starters often floundered, struggling from the perimeter (7-for-42 on three-pointers), and prompting a long talk from their coach after the game. Dinwiddie declined to reveal the nature of the discussion, though it wasn’t particularly hard to guess. Atkinson wryly called it “good, old-fashioned great communication” — the implication seeming to be that the talk was anything but light-hearted. That said, Atkinson wasn’t publicly sounding the alarm after Wednesday's game, particularly on Dinwiddie.
“I know Spencer,” he said. “[He’s] a great, great player and a borderline All-Star this year, so I just think you have games like this in this league. We expect him to play [like] an All-Star every night [and he] didn’t have it tonight. We obviously need him to lead us. It just didn’t happen tonight. I think it was more of an off night than being concerned. I know the player. I know the person. [I’m] not overly concerned.”