What a difference a few days make. At one point on Friday night, the Golden State Warriors trailed the Dallas Mavericks by 19 points, and looked destined to drop Game 2, and cede home court advantage in the Western Conference Finals.
Less than 50 hours later and the Dubs have a 3-0 series lead. No team in NBA history has overcome a 3-0 deficit.
That seems much better.
The Warriors took their show on the road and kept the American Airlines Center crowd quiet all night long.
Golden State got off to a good start, avoiding the first quarter struggles that have plagued them this year. The offense wasn’t exactly flowing, but their defense held Dallas in check, and they led by three after one quarter thanks to some excellent Steph Curry offense.
But the Mavs seized control in the second quarter, as the Warriors offense lost all ability to put the ball in the hoop. They fell behind by nine points, but a late flurry gave them the halftime lead, 48-47.
It wasn’t exactly pretty at that point, as the Warriors had shot just 5-for-19 from distance, and the Mavs had shot only 6-for-25. The Dubs held a massive lead on the glass, but had forced just three turnovers while allowing 20 free throws.
But it had involved some theatrics and dramatics.
Things got HEATED after Steph's no-look three pic.twitter.com/1lmcbCFn9c— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 23, 2022
And then the third quarter Warriors arrived in style, as they so often do. Short-handed after Otto Porter Jr. injured his other foot (it’s a minor injury, but it took him out in the second quarter and he didn’t return), the Warriors turned to their ultra-small deadly lineup halfway through the third quarter. And they promptly took off, as the lead grew and grew, and quickly reached double figures. After three quarters they led 78-68.
The Mavs threatened in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors never backed down. Steve Kerr showed his urgency by bringing Curry in at the eight-minute mark, and a few minutes later Andrew Wiggins attempted to end Luka Dončić’s existence, and it felt like the outcome was determined.
Wiggins’ poster was initially called an offensive foul, but reversed on a coach’s challenge. Safe to say it will be remembered as one of the greatest plays in Warriors playoff history. It certainly seems that Baron Davis is making room on the pedestal for Wiggins.
It sucked all the air out of the arena, and even though Dončić had some magic up his sleeve in the final minutes, Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole had an answer every time.
When the buzzer rang, the Dubs won 109-100, and found themselves on the verge of their sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight seasons.
Curry finished with 31 points and 11 assists on 10-for-20 shooting, while Wiggins set a career playoff-high with 27 points and 11 rebounds on 11-for-20 shooting. Neither Poole nor Thompson had particularly strong scoring games, but Draymond Green and Kevon Looney were phenomenal in all phases of the game.
The Dubs look like the best team in basketball. And with just one more win, they’ll get a chance to play for that distinction.