Taking a 1-0 series lead by beating the Dallas Mavericks by 25 points in Game 1, the Golden State Warriors faced a tough task Friday night. Many expected Dallas to shoot offensively in Game 2 and they did just that, taking a 16-point lead over the Warriors in the first quarter.
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson hit every shot they took for the Mavericks in the first half and while the Warriors fought back at times, Dallas took a 14-point locker room lead at halftime.
The third quarter has notoriously become “the warriors’ quarter” as so many of their second-half comebacks were fueled immediately after halftime. At any time in any game, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and this team can get in and all they need to do is hit a few big shots from the perimeter.
In the third quarter of Game 2, the Warriors beat the Mavericks 25-13, but it wasn’t necessarily the three-point shot that got them back in this game. Dallas was doing a fantastic job defending the perimeter, so Golden State continually attacked inside, getting easy layups or getting fouled and heading for the free throw line.
Slowly the Warriors began to work their way into the head of the Mavericks until they trailed by just two points early in the fourth quarter. From that point on, Game 2 was all Golden State, as they beat Dallas 43-32 in the fourth quarter to win 126-117 and take a 2-0 series lead.
From the start the Mavericks looked like the most prepared team and they were hitting all the big shots they needed but they live and die by the three point shot and in game 2 they died of it in the second half . .
Now facing a 0-2 deficit, the Mavericks find themselves in familiar territory. There’s barely a series against the Phoenix Suns, Dallas trailed 0-2 before coming back to win this series in seven games, but they’ll have to have a different mindset against the Warriors because Golden State is a very different team.
Game 3 of this series will be very telling as to whether the Mavericks have a chance in this series because if they go down 0-3 it’s hard to imagine they’ll have a chance of making the finals. NBA.
Friday night’s game was full of swings and high-level play, so let’s look back and assess what we learned from the Warriors’ big win in Game 2.
Dallas has no home defense
On the perimeter, Dallas did a great job turning on the ball screens and knocking the ball out of the hands of Stephen Curry. Overall, the Mavericks have been successful in defending the Warriors’ three-point shot and they are known to be a very successful defensive team this season.
However, the Warriors seemed to figure out how to break that defense and that was by attacking inside.
Dwight Powell starts the game for the Mavericks in central position, but he’s nothing more than a placeholder and he really doesn’t make an impact as a big man for them.
As a result, Dallas has no rim protectors, they’re undersized on the inside, and Golden State had a field day constantly putting Luka Doncic into pick-and-roll sets defensively so so they can attack him. Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and others had a ton of success driving hard to the rim with Doncic as their main defenseman and the Mavericks really don’t have an answer on how to stop that.
They can try to tighten things up on the perimeter so they don’t allow the Warriors to go down on the edge, but in doing so someone will be left wide open on the perimeter.
Inside, the Mavericks are extremely vulnerable and the Warriors have revealed that in the first two games of this Western Conference Finals series, especially with Kevon Looney having the games of his life at an all-time low.
Golden State trailed Dallas by 32 points in the paint and they outshot them 43-30. In total, the Warriors scored 62 total points in the paint in Game 2 and if you count some of their free throws after being fouled for layups in the second half, then they theoretically had over 70 paint points. in this game!
Every time the Warriors attacked the rim, they either converted or were fouled, allowing themselves to constantly nibble away at the Mavericks’ big lead until they found themselves level and able to take the win. .
Without an inside presence and Looney continually destroying the Mavericks in the paint at both ends of the field, it’s hard to imagine Dallas having a chance in this series.
Jordan Poole is a problem that Mavericks have no answer to
Throughout the year, Jordan Poole became a hugely important member of the Warriors’ roster and in the playoffs he continued to support them whether in or out of the starting unit.
So far in this series against the Mavericks, Poole is averaging 21.0 points, 4.0 assists and shooting 68.4 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from the three-point line. His explosive first step caused the Mavericks a lot of defensive problems and the young guard’s ability to get to the edge really helped spark their comeback in Game 2.
He’s quick, nimble and capable of attacking Luka Doncic on switches, which is why Jordan Poole is and has proven to be key to the Warriors’ success in this series.
Doncic isn’t a terrible defender, but he’s not the most athletic player in the league. Against Poole, he has no chance of keeping the young guard in front of him, which is why Doncic has struggled defensively so far.
The Mavericks did a good job defending Stephen Curry mostly on the perimeter and they also did a decent job on Klay Thompson, but with Jordan Poole on the floor at the same time, the Mavericks are starting to look very thin. defensively.
Dallas knows they’re going to have to give something up if they help Poole when he’s heading to the rim and if they collapse on him in the lane, then Curry, Thompson or Wiggins will be left wide open for a three-pointer.
Solving their problems on the defensive side of the floor won’t be easy for the Mavericks and quite honestly, with Poole playing as well as he currently does on offense, there may not be defensive solutions for them.
The Mavericks’ backcourt is their only source of offense
Against the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks did a great job of involving everyone offensively and they really “spread the wealth” by allowing everyone to look openly on the perimeter.
With the way the Warriors defend them in this series, Golden State allows guys like Maxi Kleber, Frank Ntilikina and other bench players to shoot because they know there’s a higher chance they’ll miss. rather than Luka Doncic and Jalen. Brunson.
In Game 2, Doncic and Brunson were on fire and they scored a total of 73 points on 23-42 (54.8%) shooting. Reggie Bullock also stepped up with 21 points on 6-10 shooting from deep, but the rest of the team, not counting those three guys, scored a total of 23 points on 6-25 (24%) shooting.
Throughout these playoffs, we’ve learned that Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson can’t be stopped, but the rest of this Mavericks roster is very vulnerable offensively.
No one else can really hit shots or create for themselves with consistency, which is why Golden State found a ton of success in the second half of the first two games of this Western Conference Finals series, beating Dallas 126-87 in the second-half so far.
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson have proven to be the only source of offense for Dallas and with their defense not being able to contain the Warriors so far, their production means absolutely nothing.
If they give up more than 105 points in a game, the Mavericks will have a very hard time winning simply because their offense is a liability. Their backcourt duo scored 73 points overall in Game 2, but they lost because no one else stepped in to hit big shots and because their defense repeatedly failed them on the inside .
Dallas’ ability to win this series is definitely in doubt right now unless they can prove effective in stopping Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Poole on the offensive end of the floor. Doncic and Brunson can score 80+ points combined if they choose, but if no one else hits, Golden State will continue to pick up wins.
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