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“Let it fly” — Dinwiddie talks about the big shot, confidence

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Well, damn – a lot could change in just a few hours.

It was ‘next man up’ day for the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday as D’Angelo Russell had to sit out the big game against the Eastern Conference champions.

With Russell is listed as day-to-day, Kenny Atkinson announced that Spencer Dinwiddie would take his place, elevating from back-up to starting point guard overnight.

And of course, LeBron James was not only in town, but the starting point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What could possibly go wrong?


It wasn’t a full-on battle between Dinwiddie vs James, but to someone who has the fearless, uncanny self-belief strong enough to tell you he believes he’s the best player in the world, it’s only fitting that his shining moment, so far, would come against, \the team led by perhaps the best to ever do it.

Dinwiddie recorded a career-best 22 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in 32 minutes played during the Nets’ 112-107, heart-thumping victory over the Cavs, in which Dinwiddie netted the final of his four three’s on his eighth attempt, from nearly 30-feet out, which put the Nets up 106-104 with 44 seconds to go.

“Long story short, basically the offense kind of stagnated. We didn’t have much ball movement, D.C. (DeMarre Carroll) had the ball in the left corner,” said Dinwiddie after the game. “I caught it with about 7 or 8 on the shot clock and it’s shot that I actually work on with Adam Harrington, our Player Development Coach. Instead of driving I just walked in to the three – I’ve actually shot some really uncharacteristically deep three’s this year, but like I said, they (the Nets) don’t care, so I’m letting it fly,” he added with a smile.

Coming in, Dinwiddie didn’t look at it as him versus LeBron, even though, technically, he, and his team, won this battle.

“That was really (Carroll’s) match-up. I know he (James) guarded me a little bit to begin the game, that was their gameplan – I didn’t look at it as a me versus him thing,” said Dinwiddie. “In a situation I’m in you can’t really look at it like that. He’s going to have 40 or 50 touches in a game, I’ll have, even in this game, maybe 20. If I make all plays perfect and he makes half of his plays, he’s still going to have a better stat-line. Period. It’s not a me versus him thing, it’s just trying to help the team get a win.”

On the flip-side, James was an abnormal version of his abnormal self.

He finished with an un-King like 8 turnovers, 4 in each half, against the Nets, to go along with a run-of-the-mill LeBron stat-line of 29 points on 60% shooting, 13 assists, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Dinwiddie did guard James on occasion, but took little credit for the team effort.

“No one man could go out there and shut down another 5-man squad,” said Dinwiddie. “We kind of just came out there and gave our best effort on defense. Obviously they missed some shots, some of that is on them too – it’s just a group, collective effort.”

Speaking to his aforementioned uncharacteristic offensive aggression, particularly from deep, Dinwiddie talked about his newfound confidence, saying he’s always had it, but now we’re seeing an evolved form.

“Me personally, just like any other player in the league, I believe I’m the best player in the league,” he reaffirmed. “The looking over your shoulder thing (in his first three seasons), that was probably the hardest part as a young player. Early in my career, I always kind of felt that I was looking over my shoulder. Nobody can really function effectively like that.

“They (the Nets) have inspired this ‘go out and play’ mentality, so I just go out there and do, pretty much what I’ve done my whole life, is play basketball,” he added.

Now that Dinwiddie has this green light, maybe 22-point and 6-assist outbursts won’t be so alien to the 6’6” Nets’ point-man, who is developing into more than just the after-thought back-up.

Now what? Let it fly, baby.