Spencer Dinwiddie has developed a clutch gene. It cannot be denied.
So after Dinwiddie’s latest heroics, his game-winning bucket to propel his Brooklyn Nets to victory, 101-100, over the Detroit Pistons, the team that drafted him, then unceremoniously traded him, ESPN’s Amin Elhassan asked a very relevant question...
Is Spencer Dinwiddie the most clutch basketball player ever, or just the most clutch NBA player ever?— Chillin in my Bacta (@AminESPN) January 21, 2018
To recount his exploits in the month of January...
—His leaning, fading, 11-foot jumper over Brooklyn-born Taj Gibson with 10 seconds to go put the Nets up, 98-97, over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dinwiddie matched a career-high 26 points and dished out nine assists that night.
—His go-ahead bucket with 11 seconds left put the Nets ahead of the Atlanta Hawks, 106-105, on January 12. The Nets subsequently held serve for a 110-105 road win. Dinwiddie hit two free throws with nine seconds left after missing the and-one foul shot attempt emanating from the aforementioned made bucket, and grabbing his own offensive rebound.
—On Friday, his effort was not quite as dramatic, but he scored eight of the Nets last 12 points in their 101-95 win over the Heat.
—And of course, his game-winner on Sunday against the Pistons, who dealt him for Cameron Bairstow in the offseason of 2016. (Bairstow is doing quite well for the Brisbane Bullets in Australia.)
Let’s watch again, shall we?
Kenny Atkinson wouldn’t say definitively if Dinwiddie is now his go-to guy at the end of the game, but he knows.
“There’s a trust there,” Atkinson told Greg Logan. “It’s also what kind of game you’ve had and he’s feeling pretty good, made a ton of shots.”
And as John Schuhmann of NBA.com noted Sunday night, it’s not just a January thing.
Spencer Dinwiddie ties C.J. McCollum for the league lead in buckets to tie or take the lead in the final minute. pic.twitter.com/1W0IORx9PV— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 21, 2018
It all started on October 25 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dinwiddie’s first true breakout game, which came at the expense of LeBron James, in the absence of Russell.
Dinwiddie had a then career-high 22 points, only his second 20-point game in the NBA, and his first since his rookie season. Moreover, the 6’6” near NBA All-Star (we can say that now) embraced the big moment then, scoring 10 of his 22 in the final 4:54.
Of those 10 points, none bigger than a 31-foot three pointer in the face of J.R. Smith with 44 seconds to go, and two free throws with 0:02 left to ice the game, which the Nets won, 112-107.
In fact, of the 27 Nets games decided by 10 points or less, Dinwiddie has had the ball late in almost all of them, especially since mid-November after Russell went down. And everyone is quite comfortable with that ... an amazing concept considering he was in the D-League (with the Windy City Bulls) only 14 months ago.
Dinwiddie doesn’t talk much about his ability to hit the big shot. Doesn’t have to.
And by the way, Dinwiddie is set to make less than $1.7 million in 2018-19. Best bargain in the NBA.