My fellow Ballers writer Gio talked a little about how it wasn’t good that the Dallas Mavericks were overly reliant on two to three scorers the other day, and that it wasn’t a recipe for success against the Golden State Warriors. In fact, an interesting stat that popped up today was that Luka Doncic was 2-6 in playoff games where he scored at least 40 points.
It seems like Doncic’s teammates finally understood that, too as they made one hell of a homestand to avoid being swept in the Western Conference Finals. It started off a lot like Game 2, where the Mavericks were crazy hot and shot 15 of 27 from three in the first half before the Warriors came back from being down 14 to winning 109-100.
Dallas didn’t allow a repeat of Game 2 this time around, though, as they started off decently from three in the first half (7 of 13) to build a 15-point lead heading into the break. This time around, their explosion from thee three point line came in the third quarter, where they went absolutely nuts and hit 12 of 23 attempts to pad their lead up to 99-70 heading into the fourth quarter.
Every single player that attempted a three-pointer hit at least one of them. The only guy who didn’t take a three was Dwight Powell, who only saw XX minutes in the game. It almost felt like every three they took was going to go in, and I must say it was comical to watch both Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie give Steph Curry a taste of his own medicine by hitting stepback threes in his face.
As blasphemous as it sounds, I think the Mavericks are a much better team when they speed things up, especially when Doncic is struggling. The Slovenian star shot 10 of 36 over all (3 of 11 from three) to finish with 30 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks. By moving the ball around more and being aggressive with both their three and their attacks to the basket, the Mavericks don’t allow the Warriors’ to show off their excellent team defense.
The scoring was balanced, which contributed heavily to the Mavericks’ 119-109 win.
- Dorian Finney-Smith: (23 points, six rebounds, two assists)
- Reggie Bullock: (18 points, two rebounds, two assists)
- Jalen Brunson: (15 points, five rebounds, five assists)
- Maxi Kleber: (13 points, seven rebounds, two assists)
- Spencer Dinwiddie: (10 points, three rebounds, eight assists)
It’s also worth noting that the Mavericks won the rebounding battle for the first time in the series, and also kept points in the paint close, only being outscored 36-44 by the Warriors. Those are two key battles that will determine their success in the next game.
This was a good humbling for the Warriors and serves as a reminder that nothing comes easy in their quest for a fourth title in eight years. Golden State have already been embarrassed by the Grizzlies in Game 5 of their second round series, where they trailed by as much as 55. They responded strong to close out the series after that, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust in Game 5 against the Mavericks. While the Warriors did start the fourth quarter of Game 4 with a 17-4 run thanks to the efforts of their reserves, it proved too little, too late. You just can’t let a team build a 29-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Steve Kerr trusted his bench mob and they kept going at the Mavericks, which might work out for Game 5. Getting game time is good for players like Moses Moody, Damion Lee, and Jonatha Kuminga, and Kerr’s show of support for them could pay off. They cut the lead to just 110-102 with 3:22 left in the game, which inspired Kerr to bring Curry back, Wiggins and Thompson back for one last push. They were ultimately unsuccessful, and I feel like Kerr may have as well kept the bench mob on considering the energy that they were playing with. The Warriors outscored the Mavericks 39-20 in the fourth quarter.
Six Warriors scored in double figures, but none of them eclipsed the 20-point mark. The closest was Curry, who finished the game with 18 rebounds, five rebounds and six assists while shooting 6 of 15 from the field. Now, with the series heading back to San Francisco, the Warriors will get a chance to silence both the Mavericks and Charles Barkley, whose rivalry with the Golden State fans is pretty entertaining, in front of their own fans.
Indoor rain delays are apparently a thing
Game 4 had a strange delay of game in between halves because of leaking rain from the American Airlines Arena rooftop. It took a pretty long time for them to fix the issue, which I initially thought could have messed with the Mavericks’ momentum. Thankfully they had that big third quarter.