Spencer Dinwiddie has played like a borderline All-Star for much of this season, but his past two games haven’t been up to that standard.
One night after the Nets guard watched the entire fourth quarter and overtime of their stirring comeback win in Boston from the bench, Dinwiddie scored a season-low four points on 1-for-9 shooting — missing all seven of his 3-point attempts — in Brooklyn’s blowout loss Wednesday to Memphis at a booing Barclays Center.
Dinwiddie acknowledged and apologized for Wednesday’s poor performance after the game, although he pushed back on criticism of his 14-point game the previous night in Boston, when little-used Chris Chiozza manned the point down the stretch alongside hot hand Caris LeVert (career-high 51 points).
“Yeah, that’s the thing. I’ve seen people kind of talk about my offensive output in Boston. I mean, I had 14 [points] and four [assists] in like 20 minutes. Not bad, guys. It’s not bad,” Dinwiddie said after Wednesday’s loss, the Nets’ sixth in their last eight entering Friday’s home game against San Antonio. “I mean, granted, don’t get me wrong, Boston should be all about Caris. He had 51 in a crazy comeback win.
“But, like, the kind of stigma of ‘Spencer played bad in Boston’ is not quite accurate. Tonight was a totally different story. But like I played all 61 games we had. I’m sorry. No, deeply, Nets fans, I’m sorry.”
Dinwiddie was not terrible in Boston, shooting 4-for-10 from the floor in 23 minutes, but coach Kenny Atkinson stuck with Chiozza and LeVert in the backcourt as the Nets stormed back from a 21-point deficit to force overtime.
Atkinson had said before the Memphis game he expected Dinwiddie to “get back on the horse” Wednesday night. But Dinwiddie’s four points represented his worst output of the season and lowest total since a three-point effort in the Nets’ elimination in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs last spring against Philadelphia.
In his last 14 appearances, Dinwiddie is shooting 37.9 percent from the floor and 28.4 percent from 3-point range.
“I know Spencer. Spencer’s a great player, a borderline All-Star this year. So I just think you have games like this in this league,” Atkinson said. “We expect him to play like an All-Star every night. It didn’t happen [Wednesday].
“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. Not overly concerned.”
With Kyrie Irving undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery this week, Atkinson has bigger team-wide concerns. He held a lengthy team meeting after the Nets were outscored 66-34 in the second half and outrebounded 60-42 in the 39-point loss to the Grizzlies.
After facing the Spurs and Bulls (Sunday), the Nets (27-34) have road games next week against the Lakers, Warriors (with a returning Stephen Curry) and the Clippers. With 21 games remaining, they remain a half-game ahead of the Magic for the seventh playoff position in the Eastern Conference and five games clear of the ninth-place Wizards.
“This is what we signed up for,” Atkinson said. “I keep saying this, I think you build through struggles like this and games like this and stretches like this. But I tell you this, we definitely have to start playing better. We have to start playing better if we’re going to stay in this, the playoff hunt. The schedule is too hard to think this thing is done. It’s gonna be a fight to the end to make this happen.”