Ever since he went down with a shoulder injury, Kyrie Irving has not been missed in Brooklyn. Why?
Because the backup point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie, has taken the reins and is thriving, his latest strong effort coming with 33 points and 11 assists Saturday in a 112-107 victory over the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn.
Irving missed his eighth straight game with a right shoulder injury but was at the arena to get an evaluation and watch from the bench along with Kevin Durant. Coach Kenny Atkinson said afterward that the All-Star point guard has started work on the court and would miss one more game before potentially being ready to rejoin a team that has done well in his absence thanks to Dinwiddie’s strong performances.
“When Kyrie comes back I think that’s just going to give us a team with more depth, a more powerful team. But listen, he’s playing as good as anybody in the NBA right now in my humble opinion,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie.
The Eastern Conference player of the week last week matched his highest assist total of the season and was two shy of his best scoring performance of the season.
“The role’s completely different so obviously there’s a change there,” Dinwiddie said. “My approach to the game is very similar either way, so whatever the team needs to win and then the role kind of dictates what that is.”
The Nets took a gamble when they let D’Angelo Russell leave and brought in the mercurial Irving. But, hey, gambling is a part of life these days … and this one is paying off in Brooklyn.