Game 3 in Dallas will be biggest challenge of Warriors' season
The Mavericks have only lost one game at home this postseason.
That 126-117 Game 2 victory the Golden State Warriors pulled off against the hot-shooting Dallas Mavericks was hella dramatic, eh?
There’s a ton of stuff Dub Nation will remember from that thriller:
Coming back from a daunting 19-point deficit!
The playoff emergence of the rookie Moses Moody! So much for the "trade all the youngsters because the Warriors need to win now and the kids won’t play when it matters most” crusade.
Surviving a dominant performance from the Mavs’ hero Luka Doncic, who tallied 42 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals on 12-of-23 shooting from the field, 5-of-10 from three-point range, 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.
The signature playoff performance from Kevon Looney! All that crying Warriors fans did for a big man who could get them 20/10 in a must-win playoff game, meanwhile they had Looney right there the whole time! This reminds me of when I’d beg my mom for food when she’d drive by a fast food joint and she’d retort that we had food at home. #BeGratefulForWhatYouHaveAtHome
Speaking of home, that’s GSW’s eight straight playoff victory in Chase Center, where they have NEVA LOST A POSTSEASON GAME (play-in games don’t count?).
When Stephen Curry (32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) hit the game-sealing triple late in the fourth quarter to put the Mavs to bed for the evening, it felt like the movie credits rolling after a heart-pumping action thriller where the good guys emphatically wrest victory from the jaws of defeat.
But I can’t relax. The Warriors head to Dallas, Texas for what may just be the toughest battle of the season.
A nightmare in Dallas
The Mavericks had the fourth best home-record in the NBA during the regular season, going 29-12 in their friendly confines. They have also won five of six on their home turf, with their only loss coming in their first game of the 2022 playoffs against the Utah Jazz.
Since then they’ve been unbeatable there, with their most recent home win a 113-86 crushing of the #1 seeded Phoenix Suns in front of an gleeful Texas crowd.
Now I know I’m the Gold Blooded King and have fans from all over the planet who love me for my swaggering, homegrown affection for the Dubs (and haters from all over the solar system who can’t stand the arrogance). But I gotta admit: I have personal trauma from American Airlines Arena, the stadium where Dallas’ basketball faithful ply their trade.
You see, a couple years back NBC and Southwest Airlines collaborated to send me and Dub Nation brother-for-life Shawnanthony from Oakland to Dallas to catch a Golden State road game.
It seemed like good fun at the time: shoot a commercial, get free room and board, wear Warriors gear disrespectfully in another team’s city, remind them of We Believe etc.
Little did I know that I was getting a front row seat to my own team’s destruction on a nationally televised game.
Mavericks 142, Warriors 92. Dallas outscored us 44-16 in the first quarter. Luka was doing whatever he wanted, and grinning the entire time. Everytime those woeful Warriors tried to mount any resistance, Doncic made sure to crush it with calculated brilliance. The three sequences I remember the most from the game:
A courageous Bowman picking Doncic’s pocket towards the end of the first quarter and throwing down a thunderous jam on the other end. This was followed by Doncic smirking to himself, getting Bowman isolated near the top of the three-point line, and giving him a step-back triple so disrespectful Shawnanthony and I damn near slid out of our seats in shame.
Paschall delivering the greatest dunk of his career.
The crowd urging Luka to get a triple-double before the end of the third quarter since he wouldn’t play in the fourth quarter of the blowout. He did indeed get that trip-dub, finishing with 35 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, and 4 steals. IN THREE QUARTERS!!! He was cooking us like Hamburger Helper.
This was the year where the Splash Bros were out with season-derailing injuries. Dub Nation could only simmer with impatience as other teams took turns beating our asses in a highly publicized revenge tour after GSW had won five consecutive conference championships. We’re talking the Eric Paschall Era, with another young rookie named Jordan Poole trying to figure out his game.
Check how disrespectful the top YouTube comments for this game were two years ago:
Back in the LGW days I produced an interview featuring Stephen Curry’s trainer Brandon Payne, who casually mentioned that he had worked Luka out with Curry. Suddenly it dawned on me that Luka had gotten some game from the OG Steph, which could partially explain why he took such delight in torturing the Dubs:
Now it’s time for payback. The Warriors must avenge me for what I suffered that night in Dallas. They could do it by coming into Texas on Sunday and getting a huge win that would give them a 3-0 advantage and put the Mavs into a hole that would be very difficult to claw out of.
It’s funny, Poole scored 11 points with 7 assists that night, shooting 5-of-14 for the game off the bench. Now he’s an integral part of the revitalized Golden State’s new plans to reawaken their dynasty. AMAZING HOW TIME FLIES!
Warriors turnovers … suck. But that’s part of who they are. People are so fixated on this. Every team has problems. Every team has compensation techniques. For the Dubs motion and cutting and passing is just a riskier way to play. And we love it. Or at least I do! And so I accept that the turnovers are part of it. Some are dumber than others, for sure. And I fervently wish for the Dubs to play flawless ball and win every game by 30 points. 30 for 30! But who they are, flaws and all, is pretty damn awesome.
About last night’s Heat Celtics game: it was oddly engaging for a blowout which became an amazing come back by the team I was rooting against. But both teams looked a mess. Of course Boston’s crazy number of turnovers stands out. But Miami was also sloppy, stumbling, beat up, unable to hold a lead. By the 4th both teams were in chaos scramble mode. Neither looked especially convincing or like champions.
It’s a great reminder that teams have ups and downs. Miami looked awesome in game 1. Boston looked unbeatable in game 2. Game three? Messssssy. And both teams have injury problems, potentially huge ones.
Right now the Dubs are looking like the most solid squad.