Mavericks’ Spencer Dinwiddie sinks game-winning shot vs. Nets, continue to show his importance in Dallas

For the second consecutive game, the Dallas Mavericks won off a Spencer Dinwiddie game-winning shot. After sinking a 3-pointer in the closing seconds against the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon, Dinwiddie followed that up by nailing another game-winning 3-pointer on Wednesday night, to beat the Brooklyn Nets 113-111.

The game-winning shot by Dinwiddie was just the icing on top of what ended up being a monster fourth quarter by the veteran guard. With the Mavericks trailing by 12 points at the end of the third quarter, Dinwiddie’s playmaking and scoring are what helped Dallas get into a position to win the game. He racked up 15 of his 22 points on the night in the final frame of action, getting the Mavs to within one point of the lead twice, in addition to his game-winning heroics.

“We knew the double team was going to come, and then the spacing, we talked about it,” Kidd said after the game. “The spacing was good and [Luka] found Spencer again in that slot. This time Spencer didn’t waste any time shooting. I thought he was shooting it before he had it, and he made another big shot. That’s just a lot of trust, but the hard part was making that shot, and Spencer’s not afraid of the moment. It helps our team when there are multiple guys out there who are not afraid to take that shot.”

Dinwiddie’s performance in the last two games is just a small snapshot of how impactful he’s been for the Mavericks since being traded to Dallas. In the 12 games he’s played for the Mavs after being included in the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards, he’s averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 assists, while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from deep.

That’s a stark difference from the 12.6 points per game, 37.6 percent from the field and 31 percent from long range he put up in Washington. The change in scenery may have something to do with Dinwiddie’s sudden outburst in Dallas, as he recently compared the switch in teams to dating.

“Your work environment can kind of be like dating sometimes, you want the person that wants you,” Dinwiddie said after the Boston game. “At the end of the day, you want to have peace in your work environment, you want somebody to want you and let you be you…and if [the Mavericks] inspire confidence and accept me, I appreciate that.”

Well, it certainly appears as though Dinwiddie has found peace with the Mavericks, and it has resulted in Dallas playing extremely well when he’s in the lineup. When Dinwiddie’s on the floor, the Mavericks outscore their opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions, and individually he’s been incredibly efficient from practically everywhere on the floor. He’s surpassed expectations so far after initial trade reactions were a bit mixed, given there were valid concerns about his fit alongside Luka Doncic. Since Dinwiddie thrives primarily as an on-ball threat, it was a bit difficult to picture how he would mesh with the ball-dominant Doncic.

But Dallas has been in desperate need of a secondary playmaker who could just go get a bucket when Doncic was either on the bench, was met with defensive pressure, or was going through a cold shooting stretch. So far, Dinwiddie’s checked off all those boxes for Dallas. He’s provided the necessary support for the Mavericks when Doncic goes to the bench, and even when the 23-year-old star is in the lineup, Dinwiddie’s capable of not only running the offense but taking advantage of all the defensive attention being on Doncic.

That was on full display against the Nets on Wednesday night. When Doncic checked back in the game with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Dinwiddie kept his foot on the gas and continued to rack up points. Doncic didn’t even attempt his first shot of the fourth quarter until two minutes left in the game, when he made a turnaround mid-range jumper to give Dallas the lead. So when it was time for Dinwiddie to knock down the game-winning shot, it wasn’t all that surprising given the performance he was stringing together up to that point.

It’s still early to make any grand declarations, but so far this trade to bring in Dinwiddie has done wonders for the Mavericks. Not only does adding Dinwiddie give the Mavericks another dynamic guard, but trading away Porzingis has also in a sense allowed Doncic to spread his wings a bit. Since that trade, Doncic is averaging 34.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and a much improved 39.5 percent from deep. He’s eclipsed the 40-point mark four times and put up a career-high 51 points the night that Porzingis was traded.

Though there’s still some distance between the Mavericks and the top teams of the West, with Doncic playing like an MVP candidate, and Dinwiddie showing signs of his pre-ACL tear self in Dallas, it certainly makes the Mavericks a tough team to beat in the playoffs.

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