For the second time in three games, the Brooklyn Nets got a charge off the bench from David Nwaba, including another double-figure scoring game from the fourth-year guard better known for his defensive impact.
“Just take the open shots,” said Nwaba. “I’ve been just trying to do that. I’ve been trying to be aggressive going to the basket every opportunity I get. There’s opportunities out there, I just gotta help the team on the offensive end. I know I can do that on the defensive end, so I just gotta be aggressive every opportunity I get.”
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 2, 2019
Nwaba scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 18 minutes in the 109-106 loss to Miami.
“David did great,” said Joe Harris. “That’s the thing. There’s a lot of opportunities for a lot of different guys and David did a good job coming in. He did an awesome job defensively but then he also gave us a boost offensively. Some tough finishes. He was just really solid for us the entire night.”
Last Wednesday in Boston, Nwaba had 10 points on 4-fof-5 shooting against the Celtics. He’s also 3-for-7 from 3-point range in those two games. In between, Nwaba did not play in Friday’s home win against the Celtics. Before his 19-minute outing in Boston last week, he had played in just two of Brooklyn’s previous six games.
But each time opportunity has come Nwaba’s way lately, he has delivered. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson likes the physicality and defensive versatility of the 6-5 guard.
“David’s a true professional,” said Taurean Prince. “He’s continued to put in the work every day and then when his number’s called he always comes to play. We know the type of intensity he’s gonna bring night-in and night-out especially on the defensive end. He’s being aggressive and we love his confidence.”
“Yeah, they did a good job of rebounding. They have some physical guys down there that were very aggressive going after rebounds, so I think we can improve as far as that, but yeah they were physical.”
More sound from @dnwaba0, Joe, and Coach Kenny
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 2, 2019
Spencer Dinwiddie is not slowing down, and yes, other teams are noticing.
Dinwiddie had 29 points against the Heat on Sunday, breaking out of the gate with 11 of Brooklyn’s first 13 points of the game.
“Right now Spencer is our best player on the court,” said Joe Harris. “We live and die with him making plays down the stretch. I thought he got some really good looks. He did everything that you could ask from him. Had some great finishes throughout the game and then just end of the game couple of tough contested ones and ball just didn’t bounce his way.”
SPENCE AND JOE: CLUTCH pic.twitter.com/DomifRvZ7B
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 1, 2019
Over his last 13 games — the last nine as a starter — Dinwiddie is averaging 24.2 points and 6.5 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. He’s shooting 35.6 percent from 3-point range and attacking the rim to earn 6.8 free throws per game while shooting 91 percent from the line.
And every game, teams seem to be sending double teams at Dinwiddie more frequently to disrupt his pick-and-rolls with Jarrett Allen.
“I think they blitzed him,” said Kenny Atkinson of the Heat. “They got it out of his hands a lot, a ton. I think he’s made incredible strides there. I can’t tell you how many open threes we got because they blitzed him, we threw it out. We’ve got to keep trusting that I think. Teams are definitely throwing double teams at him more and more.”
GARRETT TEMPLE’S IMPACT
For a guy that can blend into the background, seamlessly switching from role to role, Garrett Temple stands out. The veteran guard is described as “calm and super-competitive” by coach Kenny Atkinson.
“Another guy that’s threatening my job,” said Atkinson. “Much like Ed Davis was, he’s that smart guy on the bench. Not only is he leading but he’s saying the right things. He’ll give an extra, ‘Man, that really makes sense.’ A guy like that makes everybody better. Including the head coach. He’s really special, a special guy.”
In the latest iteration of Brooklyn’s rotations, Temple plays a supporting role with Brooklyn’s starting group, but gets heavy minutes as a leader of the second unit.
Temple was one of Brooklyn’s more under-the-radar moves last summer after the big acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t high on the list for the Nets front office and staff.
“We all collectively wanted him,” said Atkinson. “You have to ask Kyrie and KD (but) it was like everybody checked the yes box when we were in kind of our recruiting phase. Here’s a guy who would fit in and fit in well. I’m a little surprised how he’s kind of stepped it up to another level. Most guys are role players and stick in a role. He’s playing like Ray Allen. And as part of our offense. It was one of our emphasis to him, we need you to shoot more threes. You’re a hell of a shooter. Shoot more. But the ball handling , the defense, another guy who is better player than I thought he was.”