DALLAS — With 10 seconds left on the game clock and the Dallas Mavericks down by one point, Luka Doncić took the ball; he knew the double coverage from the Brooklyn Nets was on him.
When that happened, he never hesitated to pass the ball to Spencer Dinwiddiewho hit a 3-pointer with the defender breathing close to him as the Mavericks stranded the Nets in Brooklyn.
It was the second straight game the Mavericks had won in the final seconds on a basket by Dinwiddie, who is becoming the perfect match for Doncic after he arrived at the trade deadline for Kristaps Porzingis.
“We knew the double team was coming and then the space, we talked about it,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “There was room for Spencer in the slot and he wasted no time.”
“It seemed like he was shooting before he had the ball,” he added. “He made another great shot that shows a lot of confidence and isn’t afraid of big moments.”
Without making any noise, Dinwiddie gains more respect and reliability from his teammates every day, especially from Luka, who has been pointed out as selfish for the moments in which he takes time to pass the ball or does not pass it at all.
“All of us have confidence in him,” Doncic said. “He makes plays when we need them. He’s made chemistry right away with everyone. From day one he came into the locker room. We’re all closer than ever and when things go wrong, we don’t point fingers. We all have confidence that we can make the play”.
The Mavericks (46-26) defeated the Nets 113-111 on Wednesday; it was the third victory in as many matches of the current tour of five. They have won 8 of 9 games and 10 of the last 12 to tie Utah for fourth in the Western Conference with only 10 games remaining in the regular season.
“I’ve tried to live up to the trust they had in me and things have worked out,” Dinwiddie said. “Nico (Harrison, Mavericks GM) didn’t have to have faith in me and he pulled the trigger to bring me in for a player of Porzingis’ caliber; an All-Star caliber player.
I just work hard to try to help get this team where it wants to go.”
Since Dinwiddie debuted with the Mavericks on Feb. 15, they have been the best team in clutch time, going 8-1, the best mark in the NBA. Before his arrival, Dallas had a 12-15 record in “clutch time,” defined as the last five minutes in which a team is leading or losing by five points or fewer.
Dinwiddie, who has scored at least 13 points in 10 straight games averaging 20.1 points per game, acknowledged that it always helps to play alongside Doncic, against whom defenses have to prepare their game plan in every way.
Doncic had 37 points Wednesday over the Nets, along with nine rebounds and nine assists. He has scored at least 25 points in 20 of his last 24 games, including 30 or more on 15 occasions.
He is averaging 34.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists in the most recent 13 games for Dallas, which is 10-3 in those games.
“Luka is a superstar,” Dinwiddie considered. “He’s indefensible. So sometimes the rest of us have to take advantage when we have an opportunity with fewer defenses in front of us.”
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The Dallas Mavericks have a second shooter