Things looked so good for the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of Game 2. They were up by as much as 19 points, shot the lights out from three (15 of 27) and had a 14-point lead on the Golden State Warriors heading into the second half.
Luka Doncic already had more points by halftime than he did the entirety of Game 1, and the Mavericks had 72 points after two quarters. They looked like they were beating the Warriors at their own game and had the crowd quiet for long stretches.
However, the Warriors, with their championship pedigree, did not give up on the game, even when it looked like the Mavericks might run away with it. Unfortunately for Dallas, their shots stopped falling in the second half. The wide open threes that were going in easily in the first half were suddenly hitting the rim instead, and the Warriors took full advantage.
Golden State used a 25-13 third quarter to whittle the lead down to two points, and then instantly grabbed their first lead of the game in their first possession of the fourth quarter thanks to a three-pointers from Otto Porter Jr. By that time, Dallas looked like they were the team that had been behind all game. They melted down badly, and only made 6 of 18 three-pointers in the second half.
The Warriors again relied on key rotation players to get the job done, and this time around it was Porter Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney who picked up the slack. Porter Jr. had a strong overall contribution with 11 points seven rebounds fourth assists, a steal and a block. Looney had a strong double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and he was ready to provide consistent scoring in the paint when threes weren’t falling for his team.
Wiggins deserves a ton of credit, too, as he continued to be aggressive on offense to help keep the Dallas defense honest. He was locked in from the three-point line, making 3 of 5 attempts, but was also able to force his way to the basket.
Steph Curry, of course, got his stats as he finished with 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jordan Poole chipped in 23 points and five assists of his own, while Klay Thompson rounded out things for the Splash Brothers with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists.
There’s honestly not much else that Doncic could have done to help win the game as he had another outstanding game with 42 points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals while only turning the ball over twice. The rest of his teammates simply fizzled out in the second half. After Jalen Brunson eclipsed the 20-point mark in the first half, he only went on to finish the game with 31 points.
Dallas’ bench combined for a measly 13 points, while the Warriors’ bench scored 36 points. The Warriors also outscored the Mavericks 62-30 in the paint. You read that right, the Warriors got back into the game by attacking the basket, instead of with three-pointers. They also won the rebounding battle 43-30.
This deep in the playoffs, these kind of gritty performances are what separates contenders from pretenders. We’ll have to see how the Mavericks respond in the next two games in Dallas, but their morale is going to be low after blowing a golden chance to steal home court advantage.