The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors 119-109 in Game 4 to stave off elimination for at least one more night. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists. Steph Curry had 20 in defeat for Golden State.
There was a downpour in Dallas Tuesday night, both inside and outside of the American Airlines Center. Outside, rain overran the AAC, causing a delay at halftime when the roof sprung a number of leaks. Still, the water coming in through the roof couldn’t extinguish the shooting night the Dallas Mavericks were having.
Golden State made it more interesting than it should’ve been with Dallas sporting a 29-point lead heading to the fourth that was, at one point, cut to just eight. Both teams’ starters returned to the floor in a game that suddenly wasn’t as over as initially thought, but Dallas did enough to avoid any historic meltdowns and maintain their double-digit win.
Steph Curry, despite playing very little in the fourth quarter, led the way with 20 for Golden State’s egalitarian offense that saw seven players score in double digits.
Meanwhile, after having two incandescent 40-plus scoring nights that ended in losses, Doncic contributed a relatively restrained 30 points on a 10-of-26 shooting night. And while the entire roster outside of Doncic was lighting it up, the biggest contribution came from Dorian Finney-Smith who had an outstanding night both inside and outside the arc, putting in 23 points on 9-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-7 from three.
A 3rd quarter revival
Dallas has held sizable leads in two of the three games they’ve lost this series. In both instances, those leads were quickly wiped off the board in the third by Golden State.
Things looked positive when Dallas didn’t end the first half going flat as they had previously, but there was still plenty of reason to be nervous (and plenty of time, too, as rain delayed the start of the second half by 16 minutes) when the teams took the court for the third quarter.
To Mavs’ fan's delight, Dallas played one of their best quarters of basketball in the third frame. They started by going on a 10-3 run to open the half, and kept on plugging to the tune of a 37-point romp powered by shooting nearly 64% from the floor including 8-of-13 from three as a team.
It’s what made their faceplant in the fourth all the more frustrating. With Golden State waving the white flag and emptying the bench to start the fourth, the score got close enough that coach Jason Kidd couldn’t risk keeping his guys on the bench for some much-needed rest after guys like Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith lead all players in minutes played this post-season. Alas, a win’s a win, and Dallas lives to fight another day.
Every Shot Everywhere All at Once
Kidd is under no illusion about what kind of roster he’s helming. He may have cut his teeth as a defensive schemer, but with this Dallas squad, it’s all about the shooting. The team-wide three-point wave Dallas rode to an upset series victory over Phoenix only briefly showed its head in Game 2, only to abandon Dallas and leave them in a 3-0 hole.
Tonight at least, they had that magic feeling once again.
Not only was Dallas connecting on their deep ball early and often (they were shooting 11-of-23 from three at half), at least through three quarters, they even matched Golden State for points in the paint, with both squads getting 24 down low, and Dallas doing it with only 22 shots.
The shot chart for the third quarter, in particular, is a thing of beauty.
The Mavericks are shooting 71% in the third quarter. There is 2:50 left. pic.twitter.com/dz1Eu8sg6q— The Kobe Beef (@TheKobeBeef) May 25, 2022
It’s a shame that the fourth quarter marred what was otherwise as stout of an elimination performance as you could want.
Help from his friends
After he sat down for what looked like an extended rest, there’s no telling if Luka Doncic was too happy about having to go put some final touches on the win in the fourth after the reserves let the score get too close for comfort, but the main contributors, at least, showed out in a big way.
Doncic has the unfortunate distinction of losing four straight playoff games when scoring 40 points, including Games 2 and 3 of this series. To an extent, that’s been the Warriors' game plan. When Dallas was on fire in the first half of game two, Warriors coach Steve Kerr alluded to as much, saying he didn’t expect the Mavericks to be able to shoot at that torrid clip all game. He was right in Game 2 and for the series as a whole. Tonight, though, the cavalry arrived in a big way.
After the trio of Bullock, Maxi and Bertans went 0-of-14 from deep, the Dallas team put up a huge 17-of-32 night behind the arc if you remove Doncic's 3-of-11 night shooting. That’s the kind of support they’ll need to continue to provide if they have any hope of pushing this thing even further down the road.
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