On YES Network, Richard Jefferson reacted like he’d just seen a car crash. The Brooklyn Nets were cruising along with a 10-point lead against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday evening, setting up for a routine inbounds play underneath the basket, and then … BAM!
Spencer Dinwiddie’s dunk over Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris electrified everybody in Barclays Center, from fans to broadcasters to the Brooklyn bench.
“I know it was exciting for his teammates,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We showed it again in the locker room at the end. They got a big kick out of that. I don’t think people realize how good an athlete Spencer is. He is, you could argue, our best athlete. He’s fast. He’s got incredible vertical. He’s unbelievable. So it doesn’t surprise me. I wish he’d do it more.”
Dinwiddie’s occasional dunks tend to be of the two-handed, excuse-me-I’m-just-going-to-leave-this-here variety, so the emphatic finish over Harris carried a little extra charge.
“I was pretty much like everybody else,” said Joe Harris. “Obviously really excited. Spencer is probably the most athletic guy in the NBA that doesn’t use his athleticism so we give him a lot of grief for not dunking the ball enough so it was nice to see that out of him.”
It was Harris who set the screen at the top of the key on Philly’s Matisse Thybulle. The rest of the lane was wide open. Harris and the Sixer back-liners were close to the end line with their back to inbounder Garrett Temple, watching for cutters.
But Dinwiddie came so strong, there was no time to react. He elevated over Harris for the one-handed finish
“I passed it to him on the dive and I saw him look and go up, and we all, everybody in this room that’s on the team knows how high Spencer can jump and how fast he is,” said Temple. “Y’all don’t know, because he doesn’t use it at all. But when he went up I knew he was gonna dunk it on him, so that was dope. That was tight.”
“It was a great pass by GT,” said Dinwiddie. “I believe he threw it right over Tobias’ ear. And then really, I wouldn’t have dunked if they had been calling fouls. OK, he’s under the rim, he’ll probably foul me. But then I was like, man, I ain’t gonna get no free throws out of this, I guess I gotta try. I don’t even jump off two like that. That’s why they were so surprised.”