Everyone knows what Luka Doncic does in win-or-go-home playoff games.

And in Game 7, Doncic brought his best, scoring 35 points. What came as a surprise was the production of Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored 30 points  — 21 of which came in the first half — as his first and second-quarter explosion propelled the Dallas Mavericks to a 123-90 win over the hapless Phoenix Suns.

“My first two [shots] went down, and after that, I stepped into the second role trying to assist Luka any way I can,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s been fun adjusting and having these moments.”

Dinwiddie’s Game 7 was months in the making

Dinwiddie’s offensive outburst came in the biggest game of his career. And though it was surprising, it shouldn’t have been. Dinwiddie’s knack for producing in big moments dates back to when Dallas first traded for him in February.

Initially, Dallas thought it was dumping the bloated Kristaps Porzingis contract for two relatively movable pieces in Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Understandable. But then, down the stretch of the season, Dinwiddie became indispensable. His offensive production was seemingly irreplaceable. He grew into the captain of the second unit, finding a comfortable role amongst Doncic’s hierarchy.

First, it was the 20-point game against Utah on Feb. 25. Call it foreshadowing. Dinwiddie followed that up with a 24-point game against Golden State on Feb. 27. He now has a chance to one-up that performance. And then there was his 36-point game against Sacramento on March 5, followed by a 22-point game — and game-winning jump shot — against Brooklyn on March 16.

His arrival changed the foundation of this team. Though streaky, his presence gave Dallas the shot-maker it didn’t have the two postseasons prior.

He earned the moniker “The Mayor” for a reason. And Dinwiddie’s five-made 3-pointers in Game 6 against Phoenix, set him up for an even bigger Game 7.

Dinwiddie lives for big moments. Silencing the crowd with bombastic 3-point celebrations after lulling defenders to sleep with a size-up dribble move is how he likes to play ball. It must be the Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, in him.

His Game 7 production should have been expected by Phoenix, it wasn’t. So, he did what he’s done many times before — play his game. And in doing so, he ended Phoenix’s season.

“X-factor,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said of Dinwiddie. “He was on our side tonight.”

How Dinwiddie got his points

Dinwiddie shot a blistering 73 percent from the field and 71 percent from three. He found his rhythm by getting downhill, playing with aggression, and not shying away from contact.

Once Dinwiddie’s offense got going, there was no stopping him. He manipulated switches and pulled Phoenix’s bigs away from the rim — shooting over them on several occasions.

See for yourself:

Or, earlier in the game, there was this:

And then finally, this:

Though Doncic played like the heliocentric star he is, after the game, he couldn’t help but praise Dinwiddie for playing with the necessary desperation in a must-win game. It must have been nice for someone to join him in Game 7 heroics for once.

“I’m really proud,” Doncic said. “Just left everything out on the floor. He was amazing, man.”

Dinwiddie’s lasting impression 

Dinwiddie’s production was special all night. He effectively silenced the critics who saw his game as antithetical to winning. His drives to the rim broke Phoenix’s defense. His unwavering tenacity destroyed Phoenix’s heart.

“Spencer came out and he didn’t wait,” Kidd said. “To come in on the road — and find a way to win — Spencer gave us a big lift. I thought Spencer was incredible.”

Phoenix was prepared for what Doncic aimed to do offensively. So, before Game 7, Kidd said it was going to be one of the role players who stole the show.

Who would have banked on it being Dinwiddie?

There is a saying that goes, strike while the irons are hot. Dallas did. However, they should, in fact, rephrase that age-old adage to say: strike while Dinwiddie is hot. It’s fitting.

Doncic did his part, but the seven-year journeyman, Dinwiddie, is the reason the Mavericks are playing in their first Western Conference Finals since 2011.

Hollywood doesn’t write better scripts. And the ceiling-less Mavericks, as Kidd describes them, aim to keep on winning while they can.

“We’ll celebrate this and enjoy this today,” Kidd said, “but then we will turn the book to the Golden State Warriors.

“We got to go through this journey. We don’t know how far this can go. That’s why we had to show up and play. We have special people in that locker room that believe in this team. A lot of people said it was going to be a blowout. Well, they were right, but they didn’t have us on the winning side.”

Related Dallas Mavericks reading
“In Game 7 Mavericks need to dominate in shot quality.” 
“Dallas survives Game 6, can the Mavericks win Game 7? 

Feature image via Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.