Former guard pours more heartache on Warriors with explosive playoff performance

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Watching Donte DiVincenzo tear up the playoffs must be difficult for the Golden State Warriors. On one hand there has to be a sense of pride in the role the franchise has played in the 27-year-old's development, and in particular Stephen Curry who's been labelled the mastermind behind DiVincenzo's remarkable shooting rise.

Yet on the other hand there has to be some heartache, some envy that DiVincenzo is now producing this kind of level for the New York Knicks less than 12 months after leaving the Warriors in free agency.

Former Golden State Warriors' guard Donte DiVincenzo had a playoff career-high against the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 on Friday

DiVincenzo's growing stature took another step on Friday when he delivered an explosive 35 points in Game 3 of the Knicks' second-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

DiVincenzo had 17 points in 10 third-quarter minutes alone, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point range to help New York turn a five-point half-time deficit into a five-point lead with 12 to play.

The 2021 NBA champion finished 7-of-11 from beyond the arc in nearly 44 minutes, yet it wasn't enough as the Pacers outscored the Knicks 26-16 in the final period to win 111-106 and move the series to 2-1 in favor of New York.

After a slowish start to the postseason, DiVincenzo now has 23, 25, 28 and 35-point performances in his last four games going back to Game 6 of the first-round against the Philadelphia 76ers. He's 23-of-41 from three-point range during that time, having set a playoff career-high on each occasion.

It comes after a regular season in which DiVincenzo made the third-most three-pointers in the league, sitting only behind Curry and Luka Doncic while being one spot ahead of Klay Thompson.

The Warriors were largely resigned to losing DiVincenzo in free agency given they were limited with what they could pay him, but perhaps on reflection they could have restructured their finances slightly to give themselves a chance. It may not have mattered anyway, yet the Knicks are now major winners given they have him under contract for a further three seasons at just under $36 million in total.

If DiVincenzo were a free agent this offseason, he could be well in line for a deal in excess of $100 million. Given many believe Thompson will get at least $20 million per season in free agency, that's a range his former teammate would certainly fit into or even eclipse.

Few have left the Warriors in the past few seasons and gone on to become better players, but DiVincenzo is certainly one who the franchise may hold some regret about.