Kyrie Irving has been out of the lineup since Nov. 14 with a right shoulder impingement. The 27-year-old was averaging 28.5 points over his first 11 games in a Nets uniform, and his absence left a major void in the team's offensive production.
Enter Spencer Dinwiddie. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, the Colorado product has been the Nets' linchpin, averaging 24.5 points and 7.8 assists over the last eight games. The Nets are 6-2 in those games. On Monday, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
"The role is completely different so obviously, there is a change there," Dinwiddie said about playing without Irving following Friday's 112-107 win over the Celtics. "My approach to the game is very similar either way. It's whatever the team needs to win and then the role kind of dictates what that is. Sometimes it will be defense, sometimes it will be offense."
On Friday, it was a little bit of everything. Dinwiddie turned in a dominant performance, with 32 points, 11 assists and five rebounds to go along with two steals and two blocks. He even limited Kemba Walker to 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting.
"He can do that whenever he wants to," Jarrett Allen said of Dinwiddie. "He's super-talented, he's super-skilled, he's super-athletic. I think this could be a normal night for him."
The Nets have already announced that Irving will miss Sunday's game against Miami and while there is no set timetable for his return, he has returned to on-court workouts at practice. Dinwiddie was averaging a little more than 25 minutes per game before Irving's injury, but is up to 32.6 minutes per game since.
"We're just taking it game by game right now," said Dinwiddie. "Me and [Irving] haven't talked about playing together personally since the summer. When he comes back we'll talk about that stuff."
When given the opportunity, Dinwiddie has continuously proven that he can be an extremely productive member of the Nets' rotation. And as he's shown over the past eight games, he can even take over a game. But despite that, he knows what Irving -- the No. 1 pick in 2011-- can bring to the table.
"As great as a talent as he is we need to figure out how to work around what he needs to do versus the other way around."