The Dallas Mavericks are not going home yet. Facing a home elimination in Game 4, they responded to claim their first win in the Western Conference Finals, defeating the Golden State Warriors 119-109 on Tuesday night. The series, which now stands in favor of the Warriors 3-1, will return to the Bay Area for Game 5 Thursday night.
After a competitive first quarter, the Mavericks opened a double-digit lead in the second quarter and led by 15 points in the first half. Then,. When play finally resumed, the Mavericks really picked up where they left off and built a 29-point lead with some amazing 3-point shooting. While the Warriors’ reserves led to a racy comeback that briefly narrowed the deficit to single digits in the late fourth quarter, the game wasn’t really in doubt.
Luka Doncic was not the most efficient, but he led the way with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. The main story of the Mavericks family was three-point shooting. They went 20 of 43 downtown to improve to 7-3 in the playoffs when they hit 15 over 3. Reggie Bullock hit six of them on their way to 18 points.
That wasn’t a great performance from the Warriors, although the fourth-quarter increase makes some of the overall stats look good. Steve Curry had 20 points on the team, but shot 7 out of 16 from the field. Jonathan Kominga was a bright spot in the defeat with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Here are some key tips Dallas should avoid:
The Mavs are having a great night of 3 Points on Earth
The Mavericks offensive line is built around the 3-point shot, so much so that they often live and die whether those shots are fired or not. Aside from the first half of Game 2, they don’t happen in the series, which is why the Mavericks have fallen 3-0 and face disqualification.
In Game 4, they find their strokes, moving 20 of 43 downtown on their way to winning the series saves. They doubled the Warriors on the outside, outperforming them by 30 points from a 3-point Earth, a margin too big to make up. The Mavericks are now 7-3 in the playoffs when they make at least 15 three-pointers, and 2-4 when they don’t get that far.
Reggie Bullock, who went 0 of 10 off the field and didn’t score a single point in a Game 3 loss, led the way in Game 4 by making six three-pointers. The rest of the team participated as well, with eight different Mavericks who achieved at least one triple.
Obviously saying 20 three-pointers in a game is easier said than done, but the Mavericks will need more performance like this if they want to keep expanding this streak.
Doncic continues to excel in elimination games
Luka Doncic’s status as one of the best players in the league was confirmed before the match when he was namedFor the third consecutive season. The only other player to feature over three consecutive years of first-team appearances is Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If for some reason you’re still not convinced of Doncic’s brilliance, he provided further evidence when the match started. Although not at his best, he did everything for the Mavericks and finished the game with 30 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, two possessions and two blocks.
There are few players who can control a game like Doncic, and he won’t let the Mavericks lose. Perhaps that wasn’t surprising given his dominance when facing elimination. Doncic and the Mavs are now 3-0 in must-win games in this post-season, and in his career, Doncic has averaged 36.6 points in elimination matches, the highest scoring in such situations in league history.
Strange basketball night
Overall, this was one of the weirdest basketball nights we’ve seen during the playoffs. In particular, there was a rain delay that extended half the time to nearly 30 minutes. A leak opened on the roof of the American Airlines Center, sending water dripping into the court next to the Warriors seat. Circuit workers had to climb onto platforms near the surface and set up a tarp system to capture the water.
This alone would have made this a strange night, but the oddities didn’t stop there. Midway through the third quarter, Draymond Green went to the free-throw line and rebounded his first attempt before stopping completely on the back of the rim. Everyone was laughing, even Green who shared a smile with Doncic right now.
Finally, from a pure skill (luck) point of view, Doncic had one of the most impressive designs of the entire post-season, and it didn’t even count. After a pause in play, he shot the ball about twenty feet into the air, and when it came down it bounced once, then shook around the edge and entered.
Weird Stranger Things. Hopefully Game 5 will be more natural; A little competitiveness wouldn’t hurt either.
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