Head coach Kenny Atkinson of the Nets reacts during the...

Head coach Kenny Atkinson of the Nets reacts during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It all seemed to work on Monday for the Nets. The lineup changes and the in-game decisions clicked together in a show of fluid dominance. The bench excelled, the Mavericks looked silly, and Kenny Atkinson just looked plain brilliant.

It’s an intoxicating feeling, but not one that Atkinson plans to be fooled by.

With the regular season rapidly coming to a close, Atkinson on Tuesday said one of the primary goals right now is creating some sense of stability on a team whose personnel has shifted significantly in the last few weeks. Yes, the Nets are finally mostly healthy — save for Treveon Graham, who didn’t practice and is doubtful for Wednesday — but the additions of Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie have presented something of a logistical challenge. And though significant lineup changes Monday resulted in a big win — the 39-point margin was the most for the Nets ever at Barclays Center — Atkinson said he doesn’t want to jump around too much with players' roles with only 16 games left in the regular season.

“Sure, it was good — it’s one game,” he said Tuesday. “[We’re] looking for more stability. That's the ultimate goal. But like I said before, also understanding [when things are] not working … We don't have a 40-game window here … We're kind of in a time crunch here, in a game crunch, so we're going to have to do a lot of this on feel."

It’s a precarious balance, and it does seem like the Nets are still sort of trying to figure it out. Monday, Rodions Kurucs started as a stretch four along with Allen Crabbe and Joe Harris, while LeVert, who had been struggling since his return, moved to the second unit, where he excelled alongside Dinwiddie. With shooters Crabbe and Harris starting around D’Angelo Russell, and drivers in Dinwiddie and LeVert off the bench, the multifaceted attack was simply too much for the Mavericks to handle. LeVert’s 18 points, five rebounds and five assists were his best performance since his return from a dislocated right foot.

“I feel pretty good every game,” LeVert said. “Like I said last time, I feel good. I felt better every single [game] I’ve played, so I think last night definitely was the best and hopefully tomorrow I feel better.”

Atkinson didn’t say outright whether LeVert would continue in his bench role. Mostly because the Nets are still feeling it out.  They are tied with the Pistons for sixth in the Eastern Conference with two winnable games on the horizon, against the Cavaliers and at the Hawks. That is, before they take on the Pistons at home Monday and then go on a rough seven-game road trip. 

Getting LeVert going is of primary importance.

“He looked better,” Atkinson said. “I don’t know. You never know how these things are. Did it free him a little getting him in a little different rotation, you know, different kind of — change the batting order a little bit, it helps him? I like to think so.”

“The one thing I don’t want to do is jump around … I would love to stick with what we’re doing but there’s no guarantee. I think, like I said, we’re reintegrating these guys coming back from injury, it’s a little bit of a trial and error, just how it is.”

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