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Warriors spoil Luka Dončić’s return in 127-125 victory over Mavericks

The Dubs just won back-to-back road games!

Steph Curry Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have won two consecutive road games! Despite facing a Dallas Mavericks team that welcomed star wing Luka Dončić back to action after he had missed the past five games, the Dubs ended up on top in a 127-125 win.

The Mavericks built a nine-point lead in the first quarter but were unable to cross the double-digit threshold. Luckily for the Warriors, Dallas’ defense has been one of the worst among postseason contenders. The Mavericks entered Wednesday with the 23rd-ranked defense in the league, per defensive rating (the Warriors ranked 18th).

Facing a porous Mavericks defense that features severely limited defenders like Dončić and Christian Wood, the Warriors were constantly able to attack Dallas’ weak points from the perimeter.

Two teams with elite offensive talents, limited depth, and erratic defensive consistency already seemed likely to deliver a back-and-forth affair, but a referee crew that seemed to oscillate between calling fouls on small incidental contact at some moments while letting loose ball scrums go without a whistle at others made things even more chaotic.

The Warriors led 111-105 when Steph Curry went to the bench in the fourth quarter for a short break with seven minutes left in regulation. Dallas capitalized on Steph’s absence with an 8-2 run that tied things up at 113 with five minutes left on the clock when Curry returned to the floor. By the final minute of regulation, the Warriors led 123-122, but an air-balled three from Donte DiVincenzo left the door wide open for the Mavericks.

Dončić was forced into a runner-three on the subsequent possession that bounced off the backboard and ended up out of bounds off the Mavericks with just under 30 seconds on the clock. With the ball back in his hands, Curry beat Maxi Kleber off the dribble and finished a layup at the rim to give the Warriors a 125-122 lead with 8.5 seconds remaining.

The Mavericks tried to draw up a play to get a quick layup on the other end, but a shot from Dončić rimmed out and was rebounded by the Warriors. Kevon Looney was fouled with 1.7 seconds remaining and knocked down both free throws to put the game out of reach.

Jonathan Kuminga led the Warriors in scoring with 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field in 30 minutes of action. Curry recorded 20 points, 13 assists, and 5 rebounds. Jordan Poole added 16 points and 6 assists off the bench while Kevon Looney (12 points and 12 rebounds), Draymond Green (14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals), and Donte DiVincenzo (14 points) all finished in double figures.

Dončić was inefficient from the field, shooting 11-for-27 from the field (2-for-10 from three and 6-for-10 from the free-throw line), but finished with a game-high 30 points and 17 assists alongside 7 rebounds. Jaden Hardy was huge off the bench, scoring 27 points.

There was a weird play midway through the game where the Warriors scored an uncontested layup on an inbounds play, where Dallas seemed to believe they would be getting ball instead. Because of this, the Mavericks are expected to protest the result.

The Warriors are now 38-36 on the season and just half a game back of the Clippers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference. They are a game ahead of the Thunder, who are currently close behind them. The win gives the Warriors the tiebreaker over Dallas, should the end up with the same record (the Mavs fall to 36-37). Now the Warriors will head back home to host the 76ers on Friday on Friday at 7:00 PM Pacific.

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