Spencer Dinwiddie went off late in the 3rd quarter and into the 4th Wednesday night, scoring 16 straight points for the Brooklyn Nets. That was good and bad.
Dinwiddie scored 14 points in the quarter — all of them over the final 2:58 — as he led the Nets on a personal 14-7 burst to help Brooklyn open a 78-70 lead over the visiting Utah Jazz entering the fourth period.
Dinwiddie added the Nets’ first basket of the fourth quarter with 9:33 remaining before Shabazz Napier made a pair of free throws 40 seconds later to end a string of 16 straight Brooklyn points by their sixth man.
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Limited to 22 minutes because of foul trouble, Dinwiddie finished with a team-high 18 points for the Nets, hitting 5-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-6 from 3-point range and going 6-for-7 at the foul line.
He also blocked two shots and grabbed three rebounds, while committing two of Brooklyn’s 20 turnovers.
But the Jazz outscored the Nets 31-13 in the final period and came away with a 101-91 win, handing Brooklyn its fourth straight loss overall and its fifth in a row at home.
And for as productive Dinwiddie was as a scorer, he finished the night a team-worst minus-15.
Part of the problem for the Nets was that Dinwiddie’s opus moment masked a problem the team had much of the night. Dinwiddie came into the game averaging 5.0 assists per game, but had none on Wednesday, just the second time all season he has not registered a single assist.
Dinwiddie is terrific in isolation sets. And he truly believes there is no one in the NBA he can’t beat off the bounce.
But when Dinwiddie goes on a five-minute blitz of iso, the Nets as a team go as flat as a helium balloon in Antarctica.
When Dinwiddie exited the game early in the fourth quarter, he took the Brooklyn offense with him. The Nets were out of sorts. The ball didn’t move. Players weren’t moving. Nothing was moving.
This allowed the Jazz to bunch up their defense on the strong side of the floor. There were no driving lanes for ball-handlers and no alleys for roll men or cutters (not that anyone was, you know, cutting).
Having players who can create in isolation can help a team get a basket when they need one. But if you fall into the trap of leaning on iso almost exclusively — particularly in a system predicated on pace and spacing — you run the risk of grinding the offense to a standstill.
That was the net result (no pun intended) of Dinwiddie’s second-half outburst. Dinwiddie’s scoring allowed the Nets to extend their lead back out to eight points after the Jazz had cut it to one.
But when Dinwiddie left the game … and ultimately stopped scoring … Brooklyn was left with no offensive flow at all.
It was as if Dinwiddie’s best efforts brought out the worst in the Nets as a team — it put them into spectator mode. They got Spencer the ball and watched him do his thing. Sure, they set a pick or two, but mostly it was Dinwiddie being Dinwiddie.
And all it cost was the Nets’ ability to run any type of coherent offense for the remainder of the game.
Maybe not the best deal to make in the big picture.