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Dinwiddie heads to the bench as Atkinson searches for answers

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Brooklyn Nets

Well, the Russell-Dinwiddie starting combo was fun while it lasted.

According to reports, Spencer Dinwiddie will head to the bench for Friday night’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. From shootaround...

Dinwiddie has started 57 games this season but has struggled of late. He’s averaged nine points and eight assists on 34 percent shooting — 17.6 percent from 3-point - in nine games since the All-Star break.

“Man, look. I’ve just got to do better, man,” Dinwiddie said this week. “When we loss games this year, I lost my defensive match-ups or haven’t played enough offensively or something else. For us to win games I’ve got to do better. Like right now, we’re struggling, and the drives and the aggressiveness are one of the reasons, so I’ve got to do better.”

He was indeed the main guy when D’Angelo Russell went down. Jeremy Lin was already hurt, and Dinwiddie has stepped up big time. But his recent struggles give Kenny Atkinson no other choice.

So, the starting lineup that we’ve grown accustom to is no longer. Since the All-Star break, it’s been Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Jarrett Allen.

With Crabbe out, Harris will slide in his spot. Russell gets the nod at point and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will get his starting role back at the four.

The big question when Atkinson even started this was: How would Dinwiddie and Russell play together? The two haven’t exactly gelled and Atkinson knows it.

“They both have to stop deferring and be their aggressive selves,” Atkinson said of the backcourt on Tuesday. “Understand that we are playing position-less basketball in a sense. Playing on the perimeter, understand that you can do both [passing and shooting].

Atkinson went on to say that they simply need more time together. About that...

“My argument is that they just need more time together. You could throw Caris in that mix too, he’s handling it like he’s – they just have to figure it out. I think figuring that out is just spending more time together. More time on the court together. There’s no reason [it can’t work], they are both good players.”

They’ll probably see some time together. Dinwiddie’s shooting has taken a dip but his facilitating has been very good. For Russell, it’s been more about his hot shooting of late. He’s averaging 17 points on 41 percent shooting from three in nine games since the All-Star break.

Keep in mind, this was Atkinson’s plan from the beginning of the season. It was going to be a two point-guard set. It hasn’t panned out all that well, and we’ll finally get a chance to see how each can lead with their own respective units.