Before we discuss the Dallas Mavericks' 123-110 loss to the Golden State Warriors, let's remember something: Golden State could win their final six games and have a 69-13 record, which would be tied for the second-best in NBA history.
Due to rest games and tough West playoff opponents, it's unlikely to happen. But who cares. This Warriors team is unbelievably, frighteningly good at basketball.
Dallas played them well, honestly. Without Chandler Parsons, there's only so much they could do. Rick Carlisle said before the game that Parsons was really starting to take his game to "quantum" levels in the recent weeks since returning from a bone bruise. I'm not sure any of us know when exactly it happened, but Parsons had risen to be the Mavs' most important player on a night to night basis.
It was pretty obvious how this game would end before it even started, but it was very obvious when the Warriors caught fire to open the third quarter. The Mavericks would actually briefly cut it to nine-points thanks to a generous amount of bench minutes from Steve Kerr, but a real comeback never felt possible. By the end of the fourth, Carlisle had the end of his bench finishing it out.
The mismatches and outgunned lineups started early. Carlisle's first sub to open the game is often Al-Farouq Aminu for Dirk Nowitzki, but sticking with that when Jefferson is in for Parsons is ambitious. Somehow, the Mavericks stuck with Golden State for that several minute stretch despite Monta Ellis being the team's second-best 3-point shooter, bullying their way through the Warriors' defense to account for a total lack of space. They finished the first quarter down just 26-24 despite allowing nine points to the Warriors off six turnovers.
The Mavs are prepared to finish this season with the lowest free throw percentage (currently 75 percent) since 1998-99, and it bit them hard in the second quarter. Dallas finished 35-50 for the game, with 10 of the 15 misses coming in the first half. A double digit halftime deficit could have been much closer with a better showing at the line.
Of injury concerns, Rajon Rondo left early in the third quarter with a hyperextended knee. He came down on it awkwardly and immediately went to the floor, but walked off on his own power and didn't need to go to the bench. We'll have more on his status when it comes available. After the game, he said it was more of a scare and he should be able to play in the Mavs' home game on Wednesday.
This team has been frustrating to watch and really hasn't played well for vast stretches since the All Star break, but this is a good game to file away and forget about. All things considered, playing a team that will go down as historically good, without a player who had been the team's best for a solid month, this game really wasn't all that bad.
- With Dirk in early foul trouble, Al-Farouq Aminu ended up playing a ton of minutes, finishing with 30 for the game. His ability to switch onto virtually any player is absolutely crucial for the Mavericks to mitigate their constant matchup problems. I started off not sure what to make of him as a player and his offensive game was frustrating for a while, but the manner in which he provides defense and rebounding is irreplaceable on this current Mavericks' roster.
- Shaun Livingston uppercutted Dirk Nowitzki in the balls and Mark Cuban got pissed about it.
- The Warriors are so damn good. Have I said that enough? They notched 28 assists on 43 made shots. Steph Curry only had 11 points on 4-12 shooting and they still destroyed the Mavericks. With Chandler Parsons, I think Dallas could have made this a game for longer, but for how long? Not likely 48 minutes.
- Aminu also nearly dunked on two mop boys.
- A three-day break ought to be good for this team. Their final five games ease up a little. They've got the No. 7 seed all but locked up after that thrilling win over the Thunder. Enjoy the time off, guys.