D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie suddenly are doing much better in chemistry class.
The backcourt duo had struggled to mesh while on the court together this season, but that wasn’t the case Sunday night at Barclays Center. With starting guard Caris LeVert still sidelined indefinitely, the pairing combined for 69 points in the Nets’ 127-125 last-second loss to Jimmy Butler and the 76ers.
“I think we’re both lead guards, and day in and day out, we’re both capable of putting on any type of performance, giving us a chance to win,” Russell said. “I think the thing with us is just figuring out how to do it day in and day out and just being consistent with it.
“It’s just giving coach [Kenny Atkinson] that choice, the choice that he can leave me out there, give him the choice that he can leave him out there, or give him the choice we can both play together and make the right plays. I just think it will come with time. It’s early.”
Russell finished with 38 points, two shy of his career high, while Dinwiddie matched the best scoring output of his career with 31, becoming the first Nets teammates to each net 30 or more since Brook Lopez and Deron Williams during the 2014-15 season.
“I love the communication,” Atkinson said. “They’re talking amongst each other at the end of the game, ‘What are we running? What are we going to do?’ It just seems like there’s a real good chemistry going on. Caris and D’Angelo had that going. It’s nice to Spencer [too]. Their communication has been excellent and it really helped us.”
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson moved into the starting lineup over veteran Jared Dudley and finished with 13 points in 30 minutes. It was his second start in 17 appearances this season.
“It was just a feel and a little bit the matchups, getting him and [Philadelphia guard Ben] Simmons matched up. That was important, but it was more feel and I thought he played really well,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think anything is set in stone, but good early returns on that starting lineup.”
Jarett Allen added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets. He is averaging 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds in six games since returning from a two-game injury absence.