DiVincenzo does it again in historic night at the Alamodome originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay area
SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr and so many others. The Alamodome is home to some of the game’s all-time greats.
Don’t forget about Donte DiVincenzo.
The Warriors guard was back at the Alamodome Friday night, the same place he won the national championship with Villanova in 2018 and was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. In his return, he lit it up again, displaying the same all-around game in the Warriors’ 144-113 thumping of the San Antonio Spurs that turned him into a first-round pick nearly five years ago.
“I had kind of jitters, just because of the game I had in college,” DiVincenzo said after the Warriors’ 31-point win. “It was the first time I had jitters in a long time.”
Any nerves, any butterflies that were floating around inside DiVincenzo as he and the Warriors played in front of an NBA record crowd of 68,323 appeared long gone once the game began. He came off the bench with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. DiVincenzo then grabbed his first rebound 24 seconds later, dribbled down the floor and found Jordan Poole for his first assist of the night.
It was the second quarter when DiVincenzo really began to hit his stride offensively, bringing back memories of him beating Poole in the 2018 title game. In seven-plus minutes, DiVincenzo scored 10 points, going 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point range. He also added three assists and two rebounds in that span.
Playing hero for Villanova on April 2, 2018, DiVincenzo scored 31 points with five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. His 31 points were the most ever by a player off the bench in the Final Four.
His return to the Alamodome ended with a season-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. DiVincenzo’s plus-20 in plus/minus was matched only by Draymond Green, who can more than appreciate DiVincenzo’s versatile game on both ends of the floor where he stuffed the stat sheet, as he so regularly does for the Warriors.
“He loves this building,” Green said. “Donte’s been playing well. He’s been playing extremely well and tonight he came out, got off to a good start shooting the basketball and had a great night for us.”
When asked about the Warriors putting together such a complete team win with contributions up and down the roster, Kerr caught himself for a second. A smirk grew into a smile.
The Warriors coach was happy to rave about a player who has fit so seamlessly after first earning his stripes in college under Jay Wright, who’s one of Kerr’s close friends.
“I thought Donte was fantastic,” Kerr said. “He’s got some pretty good memories from this building, sitting in the same locker that he sat in for Villanova all those years ago. He was really good and just aggressive all over the floor.”
As he caught fire in front of more than 67,000 fans at the Alamodome to end his college career, DiVincenzo went 10-for-15 overall and 5-for-7 on 3-pointers to give Villanova its third national championship. Through three quarters against the Spurs, DiVincenzo was up to 18 points while again missing only five shots, going 7-for-12 overall and 4-for-8 from deep.
Even he admits he wanted that fifth 3-pointer. Badly.
At 21 years old, DiVincenzo made five of his seven 3-point attempts before celebrating with his college teammates. Now only 18 days away from turning 26, DiVincenzo laughs at himself for going 0-for-4 on threes in the fourth quarter trying to match watch he once did in San Antonio. Leading by 25 points through the first three quarters, and being one of the main reasons why, it’s hard to fault him for letting it fly.
“I was forcing it at the end,” DiVincenzo said behind a big smile. “I was trying to get that fifth one. JP was mad at me because he gave me a couple of good looks.
“But it was fun to be out there.”
The Alamodome isn’t quite The House That Donte DiVincenzo Built. He also hasn’t put up many bricks there either. The famed building has been home sweet home for the Delaware native, and his latest game there was the latest reminder of how badly the Warriors hope DiVincenzo can turn San Francisco into his home for years to come.
A record-setting night was full of legends, fond flashbacks and the present being close to, or even better, than the past.