Lakers News: Spencer Dinwiddie Discusses Big Scoring Night In D’Angelo Russell’s Absence Against Pacers
Spencer Dinwiddie, Lakers, Pacers
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers went into Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a difficult task. That was to win their first game of the season in which D’Angelo Russell was not in the lineup, as they were 0-5 prior to Sunday. But they never had Spencer Dinwiddie in those first five games, and he was a huge difference-maker in a historic 150-145 victory over Indiana.

Dinwiddie played 35 minutes in the starting lineup in replacement of Russell, posting 26 points — his best as a Laker — on 8-of-11 shooting with five assists. He was one of several efficient Lakers players, who were led by the dominant Anthony Davis. But Dinwiddie did more than his fair share, especially as a replacement in an already set starting lineup.

The Lakers guard spoke about whether or not games like that encourage him, but focused more on what his teammates provided in the victory.

“I mean, every good game obviously inspires confidence,” Dinwiddie said. “Overall, I would say that the guys being so encouraging and wanting me to play well has been the most inspiring thing. Them having my back is big time.

“Again, obviously I understand why it was gonna come and go, just with the type of guys we have, but like I said in the last interview, I don’t doubt my ability to go out there and get a basket. I was a top, shoot, five iso player for six years in a row. That’s what I do.

“And being able to make plays and attack out of the 45 and read the pick-and-roll is stuff I’ve done for 10 years, you know what I mean? So definitely covered at all times, but like I said, just understanding the team and our goal is to win a championship, obviously it’s the Lakers. It’s championship or nothing. So however I can help, that’s what I want to do.”

Dinwiddie believes his prior experience in the NBA has allowed him to be effective and impact the game regardless of his role.

“Yeah, I think in general, being in the league 10 years in my position, being a second round pick, having a variety of different roles, at any given time, I’ve played anywhere from 1-15. I’ve really been the primary guy on the floor all the way down to the towel waiving guy at the end of the bench that knew he wasn’t gonna play.

“So I’ve played all of those, and sixth man, eighth man, second man, third man, all that stuff. So it’s more so just about reading the room and understanding that you’re part of something bigger. That’s really it, and taking every day as it comes. Knowing that DLo was gonna be out and knowing that there were gonna be spots for me to be aggressive, just try to step up to that moment and be more consistent with my workout and routine and go from there.”

He knew he would be tasked with plenty — and there would be opportunity for him to do so — with the team’s de facto third star out of the lineup, as well.

“It’s a combination of both. Obviously DLo is probably the closest thing we have to a third star so if that’s missing, there’s a certain chunk of volume, plays, etc. that are just gonna be out there,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s your job to be aggressive in spots and like I said, read the room. Like if AR had came out and hit three 3s in a row, I probably don’t have this type of game. We probably keep featuring him and figuring out what’s going on.

“I think the first play that I had in the pick-and-roll, Myles Turner stayed with AD, his gravity is the reason it opened it up for a dunk. And then the same thing happened on a T.J. McConnell right slide drive that ended up in a layup. They just go with AD, and as that snowball starts to happen, I think guys started finding me a little bit and then it kind of turned into this type of game.”

Dinwiddie has been exactly what the Lakers have needed from him since he was brought over on the buyout market from the Toronto Raptors. He has provided better-than-advertised defense and has been a strong floor general for the bench unit. And in a real chance as a starter, he excelled.

Spencer Dinwiddie praised by D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Davis

As he has spoken about, Dinwiddie is playing far more off the ball with the Lakers than he ever has in his career. It takes time to get used to playing a different style, but he is continuing to adapt and D’Angelo Russell made it clear that the team knows he is more than capable of delivering anything that is asked of him.

“He’s still working, still working,” Russell added when speaking on Dinwiddie. “Obviously it’s a new role for him. He’s more than capable of doing any and everything we ask. The league knows, I’ll continue to have his back, the league knows what he’s capable of.”

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