The Golden State Warriors are one win away from another trip to the NBA Finals. They’re doing it as a team.
And there’s nothing Luka Doncic has been able to do about it.
Doncic had his second consecutive 40-point game Sunday night, but the Warriors countered with quality efforts from several players, including Stephen Curry with a team-high 31 points and Andrew Wiggins with a playoffs career-high 27 in a 109-100 victory that gave them a 3-0 advantage in the Western Conference finals.
Curry and Wiggins wrapped up double-doubles with 11 assists and 11 rebounds, respectively, and Klay Thompson chipped in with 19 points as the Warriors moved within a win Tuesday night of closing out the best-of-seven series and claiming a spot in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.
“This is what it’s about. This is the best time of the year,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed afterward. “To be involved in it again is special. We’ve missed this the last couple of years.
“This is probably our best stretch of the season. We’ve got a lot of guys playing at a high level right now.”
Seeking to rebound from a pair of series-opening losses in San Francisco, the Mavericks countered with three players who performed at a high level, led by Doncic, who had a game-high 40 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
Spencer Dinwiddie complemented him with 26 points off the bench, while Jalen Brunson went for 20.
But the other six Mavericks who saw action in the game combined for 14 points on 5-for-27 shooting, much to Mavericks coach Jason Kidd’s chagrin.
“When you look at the three guys who scored, that’s just not enough against the Warriors,” Kidd assessed. “We need more guys to contribute.”
Especially on the backboards. Wiggins grabbed 6 offensive rebounds and surprise Game 2 star Kevon Looney had 4 among his team-high 12 total rebounds, helping Golden State accumulate 14 offensive boards, 18 second-chance points and 46 points in the paint.
“Eighteen second-chance points – it just puts you in a bad situation,” Kidd assured. “I’ve said this before: We’re going to live and die by the three. But we’re dying by not getting the rebounds and giving them second-chance opportunities.”
Up just 48-47 after a first half in which neither team shot well, the Warriors got scoring from six different players in a 30-21 third-quarter burst to open a double-digit lead. Curry had 11 of his 31 points in the quarter, including a pair of three-pointers.
The Mavericks, who came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to eliminate top-seeded Phoenix in the second round, got as close as 89-83 with 7:16 remaining on a Davis Bertans dunk.
But Curry countered with a pair of free throws and Wiggins blew the game open with a pair of dunks, one on which he flew over Doncic for an electrifying slam that was originally called an offensive foul but later overturned.
The Mavericks had one more run in them, closing within 104-99 on three-pointers by Doncic and Dinwiddie with still over a minute to play. But Jordan Poole delivered the crushing blow with a three-pointer with 54.2 seconds left.
“Big shot by JP,” Curry credited. “Klay started the fourth with some big shots. Wiggs was unbelievable. That dunk. That putback. He’s everywhere with his energy. It’s just a great team win.”
Curry shot 10-for-20 overall and Wiggins 11-for-20, helping Golden State outshoot the hosts 46.9% to 40.0%.
Draymond Green and Poole each chipped in with 10 points for Golden State, which won a road game for an NBA-record 26th consecutive playoff series.
“That number is crazy,” Curry declared. “When you’re up 2-0 and you come on the road and try to get control of the series … that’s huge. We obviously know the job is not done. We get to play with house money on Tuesday and try to get it done.”
Doncic shot 4-for-9 on three-pointers and Dinwiddie 4-for-10, but the Mavericks earned just a 39-33 scoring edge from beyond the arc despite taking 13 more three-point attempts than the visitors. – Rappler.com