Wizards

Dinwiddie has been a great closer for Wizards

Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Spencer Dinwiddie has been around long enough, and has apparently closed out enough games, that he has a similar response whenever he's asked about doing so for his new team, the Wizards. He says, essentially, that everyone should check his stats.

He insists he has been one of the NBA's most clutch players for years now and the numbers speak for themselves. That's fine, but when he lifts his team to victory like he did on Saturday night against the Heat, reporters have to ask the questions again. 

Dinwiddie was once more the man of the hour after scoring 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the fourth quarter to complete a 16-point comeback and beat the Miami Heat at home. Dinwiddie made the biggest shot of the game, a go-ahead three-pointer from the wing with 1:43 left in the fourth quarter. It put the Wizards up 99-96 and gave them their first lead of the second half.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Dinwiddie's late-game explosion was the fact he wasn't shooting well in the first three quarters. He began the fourth with six points on 2-for-7 from the field. That didn't exactly suggest a big finish was coming.

But Dinwiddie is proving time and time again this season that he's at his best when the pressure is turned up.

"I'm not gonna say I was flipping a switch, I hit the shots," Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie couched a lot of what he said after Saturday's game with the fact he's said it before, but there was one part that opened the window to his mindset in the fourth quarter. He believes he has a level of confidence in the clutch that others do not, and he has a theory as to why.

 

"I'm always trying to make the right play. I feel like my heart is in the right place, so I'm not hesitating from that standpoint. I feel like people who hesitate in the clutch or in the fourth quarter in general, it's because they aren't trusting of something," he said.

He explained how players may not trust the work they have put in, or they second-guess their shot selection or lose confidence after a turnover. Of himself, he added: "I ain't got none of that."

As Dinwiddie likes to say, the numbers back him up. He leads the Wizards this season in fourth-quarter scoring with 5.4 points on average. While he shoots 42.4% from the field and 37.5% from three on the season, those numbers go up to 51.0% and 40.0% in the fourth, and he averages only 0.6 turnovers in the final frame.

His clutch numbers are similarly very good. The NBA defines clutch time as the final five minutes of regulation and overtime when the game is within five points. He's third in the NBA, averaging 3.9 points per clutch situation while shooting 50.0% from the field.

"He's our fourth-quarter player," Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said.

Caldwell-Pope also had 10 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win and went 3-for-3 from three-point range. He and Dinwiddie traded buckets to account for 18 straight points for the Wizards in a stretch of about 4 1/2 minutes late in the fourth quarter.

"There's no words for it. Those are game-winning plays," head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.

The Wizards made a point to add more veteran depth in the offseason. With Dinwiddie and others, it's showing up particularly in the fourth quarter, when they need it the most.