Mavericks vs Warriors (117-126)
On Friday, the Warriors mounted another comeback triumph after a predictably aggressive first half from Dallas.
It was obvious even before Game 2 started. You could see it coming even before Game 1 concluded. Blasted were The Dallas Mavericks in the opening game of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday. But they’d come out against the Warriors on Friday with a fresh focus, a stronger shooting touch, and a deadly Luka Doncic.
“I’ve seen it for my entire time in the NBA, player, executive, coach. Game 2 of a playoff series is always very different based on the outcome of Game 1,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before Game 2. “We have to maintain our edge tonight. We’ve got to really come out and be ready for the force that they’re undoubtedly going to bring.”
The Warriors were not prepared for the force.
For the majority of the night, Luka Doncic had been dominating, roaring in delight and flexing his arms at Stephen Curry’s house.
The Mavericks jumped out to a 26-10 lead in front of a subdued Chase Center crowd only seven minutes into the game. Doncic had already scored 12 points, and Dallas had made five 3-pointers, delivering on the promise of a rebound shooting night that so many had anticipated. Meanwhile, the Warriors appeared shocked, confused, and irritated, despite knowing what was coming. They turned the ball over 10 times in the first half while allowing the Mavericks 15 3-pointers and 72 points.
The Golden State Warriors then produced one of that characteristic third-quarter flurry that have defined so many of their postseason campaigns, this one fueled by Kevon Looney.
“Night night,” Curry said after a 3-pointer swished into the net in the final seconds
Curry scored 32 points, including six 3-pointers, and grabbed eight more boards as the Warriors rallied beat the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 on Friday to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
“I feel honored just to be a part of the ride,” Looney said.
Doncic had 18 points in the first quarter, two shy of his 20-point Game 1 total. His 3-pointer with 13 seconds before halftime — the Mavs’ 15th of the first half — made it 72-58 at the break and gave him 24 points.
However, Golden State responded with a 25-13 third quarter to edge up 85-83 going into the fourth quarter, coming out of halftime with a performance reminiscent of those exhilarating third quarters of the past. At one point, the Warriors were behind by 19 points.
“We know how good they are as a third-quarter team,” Dallas forward Reggie Bullock said. “It’s just something that slipped away from us as the game continued to go on.”
Doncic fired 12 for 23 and shone in a game of spectacular shotmaking, with the Warriors shooting 56.1% from the field. Dallas outscored Golden State 52.3% to 51.2% in the first half, including a surprising 55.6% to 53.3% from the 3-point range.
“Against someone that good you’re just trying to limit the easy stuff,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
After halftime, Golden State outscored Dallas 68-45 thanks to Looney’s 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
“It’s the Warriors. They have a great team. They’re a championship team. We’ve got to adjust our defense,” Doncic said. ”… We were up 19, so it’s a tough situation. But we can’t look back. What happened, happened. So we’ve got to move on.”
The Warriors are just two victories away from returning to the NBA Finals
The series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Sunday. Golden State is two wins from a return to the NBA Finals for the first time since making five straight trips from 2015-19.
“We’re on the road against one of the best teams in the league. It happens. They held serve,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve seen this in Phoenix so now we have to go back and just focus on Game 3.”
“We just didn’t communicate well enough on the pick-and-roll [in the first half]. They were able to get out and hit some shots. They were able to find some shooters,” Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. said after the game. “We got a little bit closer to them in the second half, made it tough for them. We just played harder.”
Jordan Poole had 23 points off the bench, Andrew Wiggins had 16, and Klay Thompson, who was kept scoreless in the first half of the series opener, contributed 15 points for the second game in a row. In the paint, Golden State scored 62 points.
Jalen Brunson scored eight of Dallas’ opening 14 points on his route to 31. But the Mavericks didn’t have to deal with Draymond Green as much, as he picked up his fifth foul with 6:01 remaining in the third, then returned with 6:33 left before fouling out with 2:25 left. But, The teams collided in front of the Dallas bench with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter. As Davis Bertans shot a 3-pointer from the corner and Bertans stumbled, Warriors reserve Damion Lee closed off the game.
Nevertheless, the next game is set to play on Sunday, May 22.