You might say that Spencer Dinwiddie makes love to pressure. That famous quote from Stephen Jackson certainly fits Dinwiddie’s recent performances. In his last two games, he knocked down consecutive game-winning three-point shots.
The first came Sunday against the Boston Celtics. He replicated that performance again Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Even though he has only played 12 games with the Dallas Mavericks, he solidified himself as a clutch player with his ability to knock down big shots.
“In Boston, we talked about how he broke down the defense and Robert Williams had the natural reaction of a big to go to the paint and left me open,” Dinwiddie said of what he and Luka Doncic saw on the floor.
“With this one, I was in the high slot on the right side. Luka got the switch he wanted; he was going to operate. They sent the double. Easiest pass out of the double, because Luka was already kind of on the right side of the floor, was to me. Dragic kind of shot through the passing lane, so I couldn’t do the one more [pass] to Doe-Doe [Dorian Finney-Smith] in the corner, and time was up. So, it was about taking the shot that we had.”
“If they’re going to double, somebody’s going to be open.” Doncic said. “I’m glad it was him. He just made a shot once again.”
Knocking down big shots is not anything new for Dinwiddie. He has done so throughout his career. It’s something that he’s more than familiar with.
“I think there was a time period before my injury where I had some of the most game-winning shots in the league,” Dinwiddie said. “That was obviously with the Nets.”
In fact, Dinwiddie still ranks high on the list of players with the most game-winners. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he has the second-most go-ahead shots made in the last 10 seconds of a game in the past five years. He’s hit six such shots. DeMar DeRozan, now with the Chicago Bulls, is the only player with more. He has seven makes.
Most go-ahead buckets in last 10 seconds over last 5 seasons (via @ESPNStatsInfo):— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 17, 2022
7 — DeMar DeRozan
6 — Spencer Dinwiddie, Nikola Jokic
That was Dinwiddie’s first career buzzer-beater game-winner, but he’s a proven big-shot maker.
“DeMar is an MVP candidate,” Dinwiddie said when he found out about the stat. “My two [game-winning shots] with Dallas–I’m thankful for Luka for trusting me.”
Dinwiddie, in his brief time with the Mavericks, repeatedly brings up the trust his teammates have in him, especially Luka Doncic. Doncic set up both of Dinwiddie’s recent game-winners, passing to him with the game on the line.
“It’s a credit to him, right?” Dinwiddie said. “As a superstar, it’s within your power, within your control–you can make people feel wanted, you can make people feel not wanted.”
The sentiment is mutual between the two.
“He’s been playing like an All-Star,” Doncic said of Dinwiddie. “It’s just amazing to be on our team.”
With the win over the Nets, the Mavericks have a record of 10-2 when Dinwiddie plays. Since the trade, he has been one of the bright, consistent spots on the roster and his game continues to improve. And it’s the trade that changed the trajectory of his career.
After sinking Brooklyn, Dinwiddie sought out Mavericks GM Nico Harrison through the mayhem and celebration going on around him. He wanted to thank him for the newfound opportunities he has in Dallas.
“He pulled the trigger, he made the trade,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s no secret. My reputation wasn’t the greatest coming in, on and off the court. People said I was a bad guy, people said I was washed, all that other stuff after 30 games coming off the ACL, which sucks.
“He didn’t have to have that faith. He didn’t have to pull that trigger, especially with a player the caliber of [Kristaps] Porzingis, and All-Star caliber player. I was appreciative again. That’s why I went and celebrated with Nico.”
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