Chris Chiozza proving value once again in wake of Spencer Dinwiddie injury

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The Nets lost a primary ball-handler when Spencer Dinwiddie partially tore his ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Hornets. 

As a result, Chris Chiozza seemed to jump ahead of both Bruce Brown and Tyler Johnson in coach Steve Nash’s rotation. Considering he is a natural point guard, Chiozza is likely seen as more of a fit for the role than the others. 

In his season debut against the Grizzlies on Monday, Chiozza went 5-for-14 from the floor with three 3-pointers to tie his career-high with 14 points. He helped anchor the Nets’ second unit, which was without Caris LeVert because he was promoted to starter with Kyrie Irving sitting out the second night of a back-to-back. 

“Cheese gave us another ball-handler tonight,” Nash said after Monday’s loss. “Without Spencer and Ky, heavy [load] on Caris handling the ball. They were trying to take him away and deny it full court, so Cheese really helped, not only to handle the ball, but he made some plays and scored for us.” 

Brown and Johnson haven’t logged any minutes in the past two games, but each saw some time in the wins over the Warriors and Celtics when Chiozza was inactive to start the season. 

The 25-year-old Chiozza signed his first two-way deal with the Nets in January. In 18 games with them last season, Chiozza averaged 6.4 points in 15 ½ minutes per game. He also appeared in 10 games with the Wizards. 

After re-signing with the Nets on Dec. 1, Chiozza was waived at the conclusion of training camp before signing another two-way contract on Dec. 22. 

“It’s my job to always stay ready, I learned that last year when I got here,” Chiozza said. “I got thrown out there when I wasn’t expecting it, but they do a good job of having me working every day, getting extra work in when I’m not playing. 

“You never want to see your teammate get hurt and praying for Spencer, we’re here for him, hopefully he makes a speedy return. He’s a big part of this team. While he’s out, we take it, everybody takes it, to do a little bit more than we’ve been doing, collectively.”

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