Preview: Brace for impact - Can the Mavs adjust?
After a big win in game one, Warriors must keep the pedal to the metal
In game one of the Western Conference Finals, Luka Doncic scored a measly 20 points (his third-lowest total in 24 career playoff games) and had seven turnovers and four assists. Andrew Wiggins had the primary coverage responsibility, but received plenty of backline help from the likes of Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and the rest of the dialed in Golden State Warriors defense.
Meanwhile, the Warriors well balanced attack simply overwhelmed a Dallas Mavericks team that stifled the league’s best regular season offense in order to get to this series.
As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone’s got a plan till they get punched in the mouth.” So now the question is whether or not Dallas can make enough adjustments to matter, or if this will be a quicker series than everyone thought.
WHO: Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks
WHEN: Friday, May 20th, 2022 // 6pm PDT
Warriors lead series 1-0
The magical, fantastical world of Warriors basketball (when it works)
When it doesn’t work, the offense that coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors have built here in Golden State can look downright silly. Like a bad magician that is all razzle dazzle but their tricks fizzle, the criticism is that it’s too much pointless movement and no payoff. But when things click like they did on Wednesday night, though? There’s not a system more lethal.
Of course, as we all saw in the seasons that the team was without their top firepower, none of it matters. It caused many (myself included) to be skeptical about, but now that the true phoenix of the NBA world has risen from the ashes to smash the dreams of their opponents under the brightest lights, the Warriors find themselves three wins away from the Finals; and seven wins away from the team’s ultimate goal.
Peaking at the right time, the Warriors seem to have found a new gear recently. After dropping a new franchise playoff scoring record against their previous opponents, the Warriors started off against Dallas with a balanced attack that would have made Gary Payton’s dad high five Shawn Kemp.
Game one was simply one of those nights… for both teams. Golden State found themselves incredibly hot, and as dialed in as they’ve ever been. That the Mavericks couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives didn’t help, but even with average shooting from Dallas, it was going to be a steep hill to climb.
Check out the shooting in game one. Big statistical outlier night; or a new normal? Conjuring memories of the halcyon days of dynasty past, the Warriors managed to end game one with a classic Curry-less 4th quarter.
Golden State won this game in a lot of ways, but the team’s hot shooting is as good a place to start as any. And the flip side of that is that the random variance in both team shooting, and outcome can make huge swings game-to-game — especially in the playoffs (just ask the Miami Heat, who were handed a blow out loss in game two after a dominant victory in game one).
There’s been a “book” on the Warriors since the recurring matchups against the matchup-hunting Cleveland Cavaliers, who were relentless in their pursuit of letting anyone but Stephen Curry beat them. Older and wiser now, these Warriors aren’t sitting there and reacting, the problem with knowing the scouting report for so long is that the team and players start to figure out what opponents are going to try, and how to counter that.
But as they’ll be quick to remind you, this Warriors team is built different. Forged into a solid unit under the dynamic heat and pressure of multiple championships, the core is strong, and now they’ve found some key help in strategic areas.
Andrew Wiggins has been tremendous all post season. He’s embraced his place on this team, and the franchise, in turn, is willingly placing their trust in him.
There’s a limit to how many adjustments Dallas can make in one day. Dubs take this one to keep homecourt advantage.