Impossible is not Warriors!

Impossible is not Warriors!

Luka Doncic scored 42 points. The Mavs finished the game with 47% 3-point success…and it wasn’t enough! Dallas played like a dream in the first half but the awakening of the Golden State defense in the second half buried Texas hopes. Jason Kidd’s men will surely have regrets, but this defeat shows how little room for maneuver they have in this series.

As expected, the Mavs start the game with a knife between their teeth. Luka Doncic is much more aggressive, faster, with each possession. He scores 9 points and the 4/6 away from Brunson, Bullock and Finney-Smith allows Dallas to take a 16-point lead (26-10). Until then amorphous and unfocused, as evidenced by their five lost balls, the Warriors are waking up thanks to Stephen Curry. The leader scores 8 points in a row to launch a 13-0 which limits the breakage (32-25).

While Golden State loses five balls in the first five minutes of the second quarter, Dallas rolls out its basketball. The Mavs won their one-on-one without forcing and found open shot after open shot to pass a 21-9 to their opponent, while Luka Doncic blew on the bench (53-34). The return of Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins halted the bleeding but every mistake the Warriors made, on a spin or a loose ball, turned into a winning shot on the other side. The Bullock – Finney-Smith – Brunson trio is also 7/8 from a distance in this quarter. Curry’s wrist allows the Warriors to return to 11 points but a 3-pointer from Doncic at 11 meters breaks this “mini momentum” (72-58).

After scoring 40 points in the second quarter, the Mavs come down to earth after the break. The Golden State defense finally enters their game and limits their opponent to 9 points in 9 minutes. Despite Draymond Green’s 4th and 5th fouls, it’s Kevon Looney who comes to the rescue in a “switch” against Doncic and with 9 points on the other side to bring the Warriors down to -5 (81-76)! As Dallas tries to get ahead, Steve Kerr boxed Luka Doncic that kept the Mavs in the hard and allowed the Dubs to take the lead for the first time in the game, on an award-winning shot from Otto Porter Jr. . at the start of the last quarter (88-85).

Driven by constant defensive activity, a heroic Kevon Looney and the awakening of Jordan Poole, the Warriors drive the point home by passing a 13-4 in Dallas to blow up the Chase Center (105-96)! Limited to 6 points, 6 shots, and 0 free throws so far in the second half, Luka Doncic decides to take matters into his own hands. He scores 12 points in a row to keep the pressure on the Warriors but the latter respond each time by attacking and finishing in the circle in abundance to keep their distance (119-110).

As a symbol, it was Kevon Looney’s 12th rebound and Stephen Curry’s 6th award-winning shot that killed off a completely crazy game. The Warriors remain undefeated at home and will go to Dallas without pressure.

WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER

– Luka Doncic sets the tone. Sick after Game 1 and lack of sleep, Doncic nevertheless delivered a dream first quarter. Aggressive towards the circle, he broke down the entire Golden State defense to get several layups, cause many fouls and get free throws to finish with 18 of his team’s first 32 points. The way the Slovenian scored, however, reflects offensive adjustments put in place by Jason Kidd and his staff. Unlike Game 1, the Mavs had Stephen Curry and the Warriors execute their pick & roll strategy (show up and get back to the screener) to perfection multiple times per possession. They also forced Kevon Looney to defend that same pick & roll after navigating multiple screens beforehand. Much less rigorous than in Game 1, the Warriors allowed Luka Doncic and the Mavs to lead the dance.

– Lost bullets and long shots. Golden State fell back into their ways in the first half, losing 11 balls to a lack of savvy rather than the Mavs defense. These blunders gave the Mavs even more pace and ammunition. Sure of their strength after Game 1, Jason Kidd’s men released the flamethrower in the first half, finishing 15 of 27 from 3-pointers, including 9 of 12 in the second quarter. In addition to this diabolical address, it was their volume of shots that allowed them to take control of the match. At the break, the Warriors were however at 53% at 3-point range but had 7 successes and 12 attempts less than their opponent. When Dallas has the volume AND the address on their side, it’s complicated for the opponent. Add untimely stray bullets and you’re in Mission Impossible… but impossible isn’t Warriors.

– A 54-27 that reverses the trend. Trailing 67-48 two minutes before halftime, the Warriors returned from the locker room with an activity and defensive intensity that extinguished the Mavs, who had been incandescent until then. Much more precise in their rotations and once again alternating many strategies, Golden State limited Dallas to 13 points in the third quarter with award-winning shots still present but less in rhythm. The Mavs will end this period at 2/13 from afar. Carried by their public, the Warriors drove the point home to take the advantage with an attack again in rhythm and movement, and Mavs unable to close the circle. In 19 minutes of play, Golden State passed a 54-27 to their opponent to move to +8. Despite Luka Doncic waking up late in the game, the Dallas defense could never slow down the Warriors.

TOPS/FLOPS

✅Stephen Curry. For a long time, he limited the breakage for Warriors in the hard. His teammates ended up getting in tune but it was the double MVP who hurt the Mavs throughout the game, finishing with 32 points 6/10 from afar, including 10 points in the last quarter at 100% success to close the lid.

✅Kevon Looney. We are starting to run out of superlatives to describe Kevon Looney’s performances. Incredible in Game 6 against the Grizzlies, solid in Game 1 two days ago, “Loon” set his career high in one game to finish in a double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds) and dominate the Mavs indoor sector. He was also intractable in defense, in particular when leaving Draymond Green for five fouls in the third quarter.

✅Jordan Poole. Uninspired in the first half, Jordan Poole scored 12 of his 23 points in the final quarter to drive home the point as Stephen Curry blew on the bench. He allowed the Warriors to take the advantage and keep it for good.

✅ ⛔ Jalen Brunson – Reggie Bullock. Almost perfect in the first half, the two players, who finished with 31 and 21 points on 11 of 17 three-pointers, had a slump in the third quarter. Unfortunately, it cost their team the game.

Maxi Kléber. The German pivot is an essential pawn in the rotation of the Mavs. He was decisive in the last two rounds and he has so far failed to measure up in this conference final. His problem with fouls in Game 1 prevented him from finding his rhythm. Tonight he finished 1/5 on shots and was targeted by Curry and Poole in the second half. He finished with his team’s worst +/- at -20.

Draymond Green. He scored an important 3-pointer at the end but that’s about all we’ll remember. Because between his faults (6) or his stray bullets (4), it was when he was on the bench that the Warriors were the best. He ends up with the worst +/- of his team (-19) and it’s not a surprise at all.

THE FOLLOWING

Game 3 Sunday night into Monday in Dallas.

Warriors / 126 Shots Bounces
Players Minimum Shots 3 points LF O D T pd party Int bp CT +/- Points Rating
D.Green 28 2/6 1/2 1/2 0 6 6 5 6 0 4 0 -19 6 8
A. Wiggins 38 5/14 3/5 3/6 2 3 5 5 4 1 1 1 +16 16 15
K. Looney 32 10/14 0/0 1/1 5 7 12 2 1 0 0 0 +9 21 31
S.Curry 37 11/21 6/10 4/4 0 8 8 5 4 0 3 0 +15 32 32
K.Thompson 37 6/10 1/4 2/2 0 4 4 5 4 0 0 0 -9 15 20
O. Porter Jr. 24 4/4 1/1 2/3 1 6 7 4 2 1 1 1 +11 11 22
D.Lee 5 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 -12 0 -2
J. Poole 29 7/10 2/4 7/7 0 1 1 5 2 2 3 0 +26 23 25
Mr Moody 10 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 +8 2 3
Total 46/82 14/28 20/25 8 35 43 33 26 4 13 2 126
Mavericks / 117 Shots Bounces
Players Minimum Shots 3 points LF O D T pd party Int bp CT +/- Points Rating
D. Finney-Smith 42 3/6 3/6 1/4 2 6 8 2 2 0 2 1 0 10 13
R. Bullock 44 6/11 6/10 3/3 0 3 3 2 4 0 1 0 -7 21 20
D. Powell 8 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 +4 0 1
J Brunson 36 11/19 5/7 4/6 0 7 7 5 3 0 2 0 +2 31 31
L. Doncic 38 12/23 5/10 13/15 0 5 5 8 3 3 2 1 -12 42 44
Mr Kleber 33 1/5 1/5 0/0 0 1 1 1 4 1 0 2 -20 3 4
D. Bertans 7 2/3 1/2 1/1 1 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 +7 6 7
S. Dinwiddie 22 2/6 0/2 0/0 0 1 1 4 2 2 4 1 -8 4 4
F. Ntilikina 4 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 -10 0 -3
J. Green 5 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 -1 0 0
Total 37/78 21/45 22/29 4 26 30 22 20 7 12 5 117

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