Brooklyn Nets: D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie get it done in D.C.

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

There have been poor analytics put together when Brooklyn Nets guards D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie play together, but Friday was a different tale.

While it may not be time to break out a clever name like “Spengelo” just yet, Brooklyn Nets point guards D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie showed Friday night that they can, in fact, play well together.

Last season, the two point guards played together in 41 games and a total of 353 minutes. Brooklyn was a net minus-77 during that span.

That was a significant talking point in the offseason, as Russell and Dinwiddie are both headed to free agency in July (unless Dinwiddie gets an extension done, which he can’t sign before Dec. 8).

Entering Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, the duo had played together in all 15 games this season for a total of 127 minutes, to the tune of a net of minus-51.

Coach Kenny Atkinson has continued to insist the pairing could work well together. And on Friday, at least, he was right.

Russell and Dinwiddie combined for 48 points and 14 assists in Brooklyn’s 115-104 win over the Wizards.

Russell started and played 30 minutes, finishing with 23 points and six assists on 8-of-16 shooting, hitting 1-of-4 from deep.

Dinwiddie dropped a team-high 25 points with a game-high eight dimes while hitting 8-of-13 overall and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

But the big upshot was how well the Nets played when the tandem was put together for 13 minutes.

It began with 6:29 left in the first quarter, when Dinwiddie entered the game for Joe Harris. They remained on the floor together the rest of the period, playing to a net of plus-1.

Dinwiddie left at the start of the second quarter while Russell — who scored 13 points in the first as the Nets trailed 30-26 at the break.

With 7:39 to go in the first half, Dinwiddie returned with the Nets trailing by four points. When Russell exited with 5:06 remaining in the second quarter, the game was tied, leaving the duo at a net of plus-5.

The pattern was the same in the third quarter. With 6:02 left and Brooklyn up by 14 points, Dinwiddie entered to replace Harris. This time, however, Russell departed and was replaced by Shabazz Napier just more than a minute later with the Nets up 13 points.

A minus-1 for Russell and Dinwiddie in that short stint still left them at plus-4 for the night.

In the fourth quarter, Russell replaced Dinwiddie with 7:45 to go in the game. It was a short break for Dinwiddie, who re-entered less than a minute later.

With Russell and Dinwiddie on the floor together, the Nets put the hammer down, quickly extending a 13-point lead to 18 before the Wizards made a late, futile run to cut the Brooklyn advantage to 11 before Russell was removed from the game with 59.3 seconds left.

So the overall impact of the pair was a net of plus-2 — not huge, but not insignificant given their struggles together over the past season-plus.

If Russell and Caris LeVert could function so well together, it’s not hard to believe that Dinwiddie and Russell could do the same, given the similarities between LeVert and Dinwiddie in both size and playmaking/ball-handling ability.

With LeVert out for the foreseeable future with a dislocated right foot, it would be big for Brooklyn’s hopes of putting wins together for a potential playoff run if Russell and Dinwiddie could co-exist successfully.

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On Friday night, we got a taste of how good the Nets can look when they do.