In the Warriors’ 109-100 triumph in Game 3 on Sunday night at American Airlines Center, Andrew Wiggins knocked down the dunk of the 2022 NBA playoffs and likely the dunk of his life.
For a moment, it appeared that the dunk might not be counted as crew chief Marc Davis flagged Wiggins for an offensive foul on the poster slam over Luka Doncic.
Fortunately for Wiggins, and the Warriors, coach Kerr protested the decision on the court. The verdict was reversed after a review, including Wiggins’ dunk.
Three down, one to go.
Golden State has dominated this series and is one win away from reaching its sixth NBA Finals. It’s incredible that if both Thompson and Curry hadn’t been injured in the previous years, the Warriors might be on the verge of reaching their eighth straight NBA Finals.
That’s how great this club has been over the last eight years.
The Warriors came out and played with determination from the start, and despite some hiccups, they proved to be the better team with a 109-100 win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday night at American Airlines Center.
Golden State currently has a three-game lead in the series.
Steph Curry continues to impress with a 31-point double-double. He also had 11 assists and five three-pointers. In a record 53 postseason games, he has now made at least five 3-pointers.
Andrew Wiggins had his first 20-10 playoff effort, and he was maybe the greatest player on the court for both teams.
Klay Thompson scored 19 points but struggled with his three-point shooting.
Doncic scored 40 points, and Dinwiddie added 26 off the bench, while Kleber and Bullock were ineffective.
The Warriors will try to complete the sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Doncic and the rest of the Mavericks will undoubtedly do everything they can to extend this series. But, with the Warriors comfortably in the lead, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the next opponent.
The level of difficulty
To say it’s insanely difficult is an understatement.
This dunk was not for the faint of heart. Only a jumping genius like Wiggins could have delivered such a tremendous dunk. Just watch the dunk again and see how far back Wiggins starts. Watch that again and notice how far back he cocks his arm.
That’s Dunk of the Year material right there. That’s better than any of the dunks we witnessed at the Dunk Contest earlier this season. It was the icing on the cake for Wiggins, who ended with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists while shooting 55% from the field.
Wiggins has been tremendous for Golden State throughout the series, scoring over 20 points per game while also receiving the most difficult defensive assignment in protecting Doncic on the opposite end of the floor.
While Doncic continues to score, Wiggins has been making life difficult for the superstar, and after playing the most minutes of any Warriors player, he still finds the energy to complete dunks like that in the fourth quarter.
Wiggins has gone from being the team’s second-best player to the ideal role man Golden State requires when Curry and Klay Thompson get into a jam. His consistent play on both sides of the court, which includes six offensive rebounds, is part of the reason Dallas is having such a difficult time guarding this Warriors squad.
Dallas big names fail to appear in crucial Game three
After falling behind 0-2 in the conference semifinals to the Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks rallied with four of their five starters scoring to win Game 3.
In that game, Bullock, Finney-Smith, and Kleber combined for 43 points, giving Dallas, and Doncic the lift they needed to get back into the series.
On Sunday evening, however, this was not the case.
While Doncic’s teammates Brunson and Dinwiddie combined for 46 points, Bullock went scoreless 0-10 from the field in 39 minutes of action.
Finney-Smith ended with nine points, while Kleber scored zero points on 0-5 shooting. Dallas isn’t going to win many games with all three of those guys shooting that horribly.
Though Dallas kept it close until the final buzzer, unlike the previous two games in this series, it didn’t feel like they could make a genuine run without players like Bullock, Finney-Smith, and Kleber making jumpers.
Big Bench Question
At this point, the extent of Porter’s injuries is unknown. However, if he is unable to play in Game 4 or beyond, Kerr may have a dilemma on his hands. When Porter was injured, Toscano-Anderson took his position. Is that the strategy for the future?
Overall, Golden State’s reserves had a difficult night. The Warriors’ bench was a collective minus-38 in the first half, scoring only two points (two from Porter and two from Poole).
Poole struggled to find his shooting after two tremendous efforts to start the series, scoring only 10 points. The one bright spot is that both of his three-point attempts were enormous.
Moody has surpassed Lee in the postseason rotation, and while playing good defense on Doncic and Brunson, he was a minus-12. The Mavericks asked him to shoot. He missed all three of his shots, all of which came from beyond the arc.
The Warriors must first determine if Porter will return soon or remain sidelined for a lengthy amount of time. If the latter is the case, numerous players must step up.
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