Former Detroit Piston Spencer Dinwiddie tormented his former team once again, tying the game in regulation before winning it in OT for the Brooklyn Nets.
Since joining the Brooklyn Nets in December 2016, Spencer Dinwiddie has gained a reputation for being a late-game closer and a clutch shot maker. On Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he lived up to that reputation — times two.
Dinwiddie canned a deep 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and then with 7.1 seconds remaining in overtime and the Nets trailing by two, Dinwiddie hit a step-back 3 from the wing over Andre Drummond to send Brooklyn to a 120-119 win.
At the other end, Dinwiddie got switched onto 6-foot-10 power forward Blake Griffin, who had scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and played perfect positional defense.
He bodied Griffin once to stop his momentum and forced the former All-Star into a fadeaway turnaround jumper that was off the mark, sealing the win.
It ended a night in which Dinwiddie came up big for the Nets when they needed it, as he scored 22 of his game-high 25 points after halftime, including 14 in the fourth quarter as Brooklyn eventually came back from what had been a 10-point deficit late in the third period.
The 25 points marked the most Dinwiddie has scored in eight games against Detroit and the third time he’s topped the 20-point mark. It also marked his second late-game winner against the Pistons.
On Jan. 21 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Dinwiddie’s 13-foot jumper with one second remaining lifted the Nets to a 101-100 victory over the Pistons.
If Dinwiddie plays like he has a chip on his shoulder when he faces the Detroit Pistons, it’s because he does.
Detroit was the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft after a serious knee injury ended his junior season at the University of Colorado and sent his draft stock plummeting after he had been projected at one point to be a lottery pick.
And once with the Pistons, Dinwiddie spent much of his time either sitting or making the trek to Grand Rapids to play with Detroit’s affiliate in what was then known as the D League.
In two seasons, Dinwiddie appeared in only 46 games, starting one, and averaged 4.4 points and 2.7 assists in 13.3 minutes per game, shooting .314/.173/.746.
In fairness to Dinwiddie, it’s tough to find a shooting rhythm when you’re only playing once every four games on average.
After the 2015-16 season ended, the Pistons traded Dinwiddie to the Chicago Bulls for Cameron Bairstow, a big man from Australia who was waived 20 days later.
Dinwiddie was waived by the Bulls the same day before returning to them on a new contract three weeks later. But late in the preseason, Dinwiddie was waived again by Chicago and opened the season on allocation to the Windy City Bulls in the D League.
His career changed when he signed a three-year deal with no guarantees with the Brooklyn Nets in December 2016.
He wound up starting 18 games for the Nets the remainder of the season and last season started 58 of the 80 games he played.
He was a finalist for Most Improved Player honors in the NBA last season after averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 28.8 minutes per game on .387/.326/.813 shooting.
A goal he had this season was to be a more consistent shooter and through eight games as the Nets’ No. 1 option off the bench, it’s been mission accomplished.
Dinwiddie, now in his fifth NBA season and poised to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 unless he agrees to an extension with Brooklyn — which can’t happen until Dec. 8, the anniversary date of him signing his current deal — is averaging 14.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 27.5 minutes a night while shooting .489/.435/13-for-16.
It’s worth noting that Stan Van Gundy, the coach and team president in Detroit who drafted him and then traded him, is no longer with the Pistons organization.
But that apparently doesn’t mean Dinwiddie is finished showing the franchise what it missed out on.