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Spencer Dinwiddie’s ‘vendetta’ against Detroit is just another clutch shot for him

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Does he play with extra juice against Detroit?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, after Spence Dinwiddie dispatched Detroit, Rob “World Wide Wob” Lopez described Dinwiddie’s relationship with the Detroit Pistons as a “scorched earth vendetta.” Not long after, Andre Drummond went on record and (somewhat) jokingly said Dinwiddie has a “personal vendetta” against his former team, forcing him to rip his jersey after the loss.

“That man has got a personal vendetta every time we play him. He’s trying to let us have it every time we play. Any time he sees the Detroit Pistons, he comes after us. So, I mean, that’s a great mindset for him to have. I know it’s a big year for him, so I wish him the best.”

Dinwiddie scored 14 points of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and hit the game-tying shot that ultimately sent the game to overtime. Then, he hit a cold-blooded step-back corner three with 7.1 seconds in OT to put Brooklyn ahead. Finally, he contested Blake Griffin’s failed attempt to win it at the buzzer.

After the big shot, he was asked if he pays with a little extra juice against his former team ... the one that drafted him at No. 38 in 2014, then after barely giving him a chance, traded him to Chicago for a player they immediately waived. Chicago waived him too, but it seems he’s got more issues with Detroit ... although he denies it.

“At this point, no. Players have changed. Coaching staff has changed. I was just able to hit a couple shots and help my team win. That’s about it,” said Dinwiddie. Indeed, it was Stan Van Gundy of the TV analyst family who dumped him.

Dinwiddie played it cool and humble after the victory. Still, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t feel some type of schadenfreude (look it up) after not doing it once – but twice (!) against Detroit. Waiving him apparently will never be redeemed.

It’s also fitting for Dinwiddie and the way his career has gone. He’s been the underdog his entire career and he’ll always have those big wins. And despite his denials, there is a record of him reveling in his his success. After all, Drummond wouldn’t say it for no reason.

Back in January, Dinwiddie spoke with Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press before he played the Pistons at Barclays.

“If your first job fired you, and you came back and was like, ‘What’s up, fam; I’m with (my dream job) now.’ I love everybody in the organization, it’s just great to beat them,” he said, unsmiling.

The Nets ended up losing by 34 in that game, an ugly affair for both Dinwiddie and the Nets. Then, less than two weeks later, it was Revenge I. He hit a floater over Drummond to win the game for Brooklyn in Detroit, which tied him with C.J. McCollum for most field goals to tie or take the lead in the last minute of the fourth or overtime.

It was almost like he got the closure he needed.

”Let’s just be real here. I start my career off here, for lack of a better word I was essentially cut. So how would y’all feel?”

Even before twice beating the Pistons by himself, Dinwiddie admitted he got a special feeling when the Nets beat Detroit in March 2017 on a Brook Lopez buzzer-beater.

“When (the shot) went up, you saw it go a little higher and it’s like, ‘That’s money,’” Dinwiddie said that night. “And when you know you’re going to beat the team that drafted you and traded you, you’re like, ‘Bruh ...’

”A little bit happy. A little bit.”

So much for his denials.

***

It’s worth noting that the Brooklyn Nets have been a team that’s lost a lot of their games by a small margin. Several games last year and already a few this year have come down to the last seconds.

Dinwiddie has gotten them out of a lot of jams in that span, hence why Jared Dudley laughed and said, “Thank god for Spencer Dinwiddie. Saved me. Saved everybody.” after the game.

We can joke or talk about a vendetta against the Pistons, but he’s shown he can do it against anybody when given the opportunity. He was, statistically, one of the NBA’s best clutch shooters last season.

To recount his exploits in January of last season ... even before the Detroit game.

—His leaning, fading, 11-foot jumper over Taj Gibson with 10 seconds to go put the Nets up, 98-97, over the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 3. 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.

—Six days later, 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.

It’s also worth noting that he’s on a contract year, due for an extension come December 8. The intrigue behind him is that he’s a home-grown player who worked to get where he is. He literally epitomizes what Kenny Atkinson and the Nets want to be about. He’s 25-years-old and his stock is rising. The clutch DNA certainly helps his cause.

And hey, you want to talk Nets’ legacy? He’s the first Net to hit the game-tying shot and then game-winning shot in overtime since Joe Johnson did so against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, the famous Johnson & Johnson game.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of months with the extension deadline looming. But games like these, among others, make you root for Spencer Dinwiddie, the underdog who worked hard to get where he is today.

It’s somewhat like the Giants and Patriots rivalry in the NFL. The Patriots have five Superbowl rings, but the one team they could never beat was the Giants. It’s basically the only asterisk on Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legacy while it’s something the underdog Giants and its fans will always have to hold onto. Same with Dinwiddie.

“What can I say about Spencer?” Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “Phenomenal.”