Posts Tagged ‘2022 NBA Western Conference Finals’


The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.

Klay Thompson scored 32 points, including 19 in the first half, to help Golden State eliminate the Dallas Mavericks with a 120-110 Game 5 win at Chase Center on Thursday.

The Mavericks trailed by as many as 25 points and never led in the contest. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 28 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in 40 minutes. Doncic’s 15 third-quarter points helped the Mavs get within 10 entering the fourth quarter, but the Warriors managed to regain momentum in short order en route to a decisive win.

Golden State shot 51.1% from the field and 38.9% on 3-point attempts while connecting on all 16 of its free-throw tries.

The Warriors improve to 21-2 in playoff series under head coach Steve Kerr and 18-0 against Western Conference playoff opponents during his tenure.

Golden State will host Game 1 of the Finals against either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat on June 2.

 Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks had to wait out a rain delay in the middle of the game and sweat out some tense moments near the end.

Once they had, they were still alive in the Western Conference finals.

Doncic had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat Golden State 119-109 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, when there was a 16-minute rain delay at the start of the second half and the Warriors cut a 29-point deficit down to single digits late.

“Just got to finish the game. A win is a win,” said Doncic, who was 10-of-26 shooting and got plenty of help from his supporting cast to avoid being swept.

It was the 10th double-double in his 14 games this postseason for Doncic, who also had nine assists. When he had 40 points in Game 3, Reggie Bullock shot 0 for 10 with seven misses from 3-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points and Bullock added 18 on 6-of-10 shooting — all 3-pointers. Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Maxi Kelber, who was 2-of-14 shooting (all 3s) in the first three games, made two 3s before halftime and was 5-of-6 shooting overall for 13 points.

“Everybody in that locker room felt like we had more basketball to play,” Finney-Smith said. “We just wanted to get the win any way. … Feel like we came out desperate that first half.”

The loss snapped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak in Western Conference finals games, though they are still firmly in control of this series headed back to California for Game 5 on Thursday night.

“It was almost like an ego win (for Dallas). You come out and really have nothing to lose. So that confidence started early,” Stephen Curry said. “And we really didn’t do nothing to slow it down, and then that’s when the avalanche starts. You tip your hat to them.”

Curry had 20 points and returned to the game with 3:22 left — his first appearance in the fourth quarter — after the Warriors had cut a 29-point deficit to 110-102. But they never got closer even with Curry and other starters returning to the floor.

“Just made the decision to see if we could pull off a miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Dallas was great tonight. They deserved to win. This is the conference finals. This is how it’s supposed to be.”

Doncic then drove for a dunk and Bullock made his sixth 3-pointer.

“I still believe we can win. Swept or not swept, if you lose, you lose,” Doncic said. “Got to go game by game.”

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Only three of the 146 teams to fall in that deep hole have even been able to force a seventh game.

The Mavericks have been swept in a best-of-seven only once in their 34 such series. That was against Oklahoma City in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, after Dallas won its only NBA title the previous season.

Rain leaking through the roof at American Airlines Center caused the delay after halftime. There was heavy rain outside, and there were at least two leaks. One was dropping water near the Golden State bench, and at the other end of the court water appeared to be falling in the stands.

It was the second such delay this season in the 21-year-old building. The start of a March 21 game against Minnesota was delayed 15 minutes because of water dripping near the visitors bench.

Dallas went ahead to stay with a 25-6 run over a nearly 7-minute span of the second quarter during which the Warriors missed nine of 10 shots and had two turnovers.

Golden State was up 31-29 after a jumper by Moses Moody, then had only one made basket the next seven minutes. A 3-pointer by Davis Bertans put the Mavericks in the lead for good.

The Mavericks had a 62-47 halftime after Doncic drove for a hard layup, responding to Curry’s basket at the other end.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

A moment of silence just before tipoff came hours after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Texas elementary school about 375 miles away in Uvalde, Texas, which is west of San Antonio in the southern part of the state. The moment also recognized a teacher-coach from Palestine, Texas, who was killed when his car was hit by a wrong-way driver when driving the just more than 100 miles home from Game 3 on Sunday night. Two students with him were injured.

CURRY’S 100th 20

Curry had his 100th career 20-point playoff game. He is only the 16th player to accomplish that. All others ahead of him are either in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, are still active players, or are retired and not yet eligible for Hall induction — such as Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.

PORTER OUT

The Warriors were without Otto Porter Jr., who averaged 10.5 points on 82% shooting the first two games before leaving Game 3 because of a sore left foot. He didn’t dress Tuesday.

STOPPING SHORT

Draymond Green went to the free throw line midway through the third quarter. His first attempt stopped on the wide back side of the rim. After Doncic and Green stood in the lane together laughing about that, the ball was eventually knocked down. Green then missed the second attempt as well, and rebounded by Doncic.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Andrew Wiggins added 27 while posterizing Luka Doncic on a dunk and the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 Sunday night for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Klay Thompson scored 19 with a pair of big fourth-quarter 3-pointers as the Warriors moved within a victory of a return to the NBA Finals, three years after the end of a run of five consecutive trips that yielded three championships.

Golden State, which swept Portland in its most recent West finals in 2019 before Toronto won the title, goes for the sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday in Dallas. No team has rallied from 3-0 down to win an NBA playoff series.

Doncic scored 40 and beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-footer that got the crowd going with the Mavericks again at home trailing 2-0, as they did against top-seeded Phoenix before winning the West semifinal series in seven games.

But that shimmy-inducing bucket was a blip on an otherwise rough night from 3-point range for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13 of 45.

Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-range specialists for Dallas, missed all 12 of their 3s combined and were 0-15 overall. Both went scoreless, offsetting Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points off the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.

Wiggins’ dunk over Doncic was originally ruled an offensive foul midway through the fourth quarter. The Warriors challenged, and the ruling was Wiggins’ elbow to Doncic was incidental contact, giving Golden State a 93-83 lead.

About a minute later, Wiggins, who had 11 rebounds, moved quickly down the right baseline for a follow dunk on a miss by Curry as the Warriors extended their NBA record with a 26th consecutive series in which they won at least one road game.

One of Dinwiddie’s 3-pointers got Dallas within five points with 1:15 remaining, but Jordan Poole answered with one from the left wing just inside the final minute.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

The most tense moment of the series came late in the first half after a corner 3 from Curry capped an 8-0 run that put the Warriors in front by a point and helped them to a 48-47 halftime lead. And it left Curry confused.

Curry ran the length of the court with his tongue hanging out after Dallas called timeout. As he circled back toward his bench, Curry walked by Doncic with teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson nearby.

Doncic appeared to take issue with something Toscano-Anderson said and started toward the Golden State bench before officials along with coaches and players from both teams intervened. Meantime, Draymond Green and injured Dallas guard Tim Hardaway Jr. exchanged unpleasantries about 45 feet apart.

After the timeout, Curry could been seen saying, “What happened?” and approached Doncic to talk about it. The exchange ended with Green as the peacemaker with Doncic.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Green got a technical foul, his second of the series, after an extended conversation with official Marc Davis when he was called for a backcourt violation when he hurriedly tried to step back over the midcourt line to catch a long, unexpected pass from Curry. The crowd was howling for a technical and finally got it. Seconds later, Green was called for his first foul and didn’t like the call. But he directed his complaint at his own bench instead of the officiating crew. … Otto Porter Jr., who averaged 10.5 points on 82% shooting the first two games, limped to the locker room in the first half and was ruled out with left foot soreness.

Mavericks: Bullock won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar social justice award. He has been active in the LGBTQ+ community. His sister, a transgender woman, was killed in 2014. Bullock worked with several organizations in the Dallas area after signing as a free agent in the offseason and has long been active in similar pursuits in his native North Carolina. … Dorian Finney-Smith got a technical early in the second half for an elbow to the back of Green after a made Dallas free throw.

Luka Doncic was dominating, yelling in celebration and flexing his arms in Stephen Curry’s house.

Then Curry and the Golden State Warriors delivered one of those signature third-quarter flurries that have defined so many of their postseason runs — with this one being sparked by Kevon Looney.

Just like that, they’re two wins away from getting back to another NBA Finals.

Curry scored 32 points with six 3-pointers and eight more rebounds, Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Warriors rallied past the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 on Friday for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“I feel honored just to be a part of the ride,” Looney said.

Doncic scored 42 points and the Mavericks led most of the way before the Warriors took their first lead of the night on Otto Porter Jr.’s 3-pointer 18 seconds into the fourth.

Doncic had 18 points in the first quarter — two shy of his 20-point Game 1 total. His 3-pointer with 13 seconds before halftime — the Mavs’ 15th of the first half — made it 72-58 at the break and gave him 24 points.

“Against someone that good you’re just trying to limit some of the easy stuff,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Doncic even got a Twitter shoutout from Oakland’s own MC Hammer: “Ok young Luka … We see you.”

But Golden State answered with a 25-13 third quarter to pull to 85-83 going into fourth — coming out of halftime with a performance reminiscent of those thrilling third quarters of past.

“We know how good they are as a third-quarter team,” Dallas forward Reggie Bullock said. “It’s just something that slipped away from us as the game continued to go on.”

Doncic shot 12 for 23 and shined in a game of brilliant shotmaking — the Warriors finished 56.1% from the floor. In the first half alone, Dallas edged Golden State 52.3% to 51.2%, including a remarkable 55.6% to 53.3% from 3-point range.

The series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Sunday. Golden State is two wins from a return to the NBA Finals for the first time since making five straight trips from 2015-19.

“We’re on the road against one of the best teams in the league. It happens. They held serve,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve seen this in Phoenix so now we have to go back and just focus on Game 3.”

Jordan Poole scored 23 points off the bench, Andrew Wiggins had 16 and Klay Thompson — held scoreless in the first half of the series opener — added 15 points for a second straight game. Golden State scored 62 points in the paint.

Jalen Brunson scored eight of the first 14 Dallas points on the way to 31. The Mavericks didn’t have to see as much of Draymond Green, who picked up his fifth foul with 6:01 left in the third, then returned with 6:33 left before fouling out with 2:25 to go.

The teams tangled with 8:03 left in the second quarter in front of the Dallas bench. Warriors reserve Damion Lee closed out as Davis Bertans hit a 3-pointer from the corner and Bertans tripped Lee and sent him in a flip hard to the floor. Lee had to be held back by official Eric Lewis.

The players were issued double technicals.

In Game 1 two days earlier, Doncic faced smothering defense from Wiggins and shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. Kidd expected a far better outing in Game 2.

Golden State continued to push the pace and committed 16 turnovers after 15 in the opener.

RELIABLE LOONEY

Moved back into the starting lineup for the clinching Game 6 of the semifinals against Memphis, Looney shot 10 for 14 after making all five of his field goals in Game 1.

He notched his second career postseason double-double.

“Tonight was my night to make a big difference and I just stepped up,” Looney said.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Dallas led by as many as 16 in the opening quarter. … The Mavs were outrebounded again at 43-30 after a 51-35 disadvantage in Game 1. They committed one fewer turnovers with 12 after Doncic had seven in the series opener. “We’ve got to take care of the ball because the Warriors once you turn the ball over, they’re gone, and a lot of times it’s an open 3,” Kidd said beforehand.

Warriors: G Gary Payton II — who broke his left elbow on a hard foul when Memphis star Dillon Brooks clobbered him May 3 on a fast break for a Flagrant 2, ejection and one-game suspension — is doing light individual work on court that includes shooting with his non-dominant right hand and will be re-evaluated in a week. … F Andre Iguodala missed his ninth straight game with a disc injury in his neck is continuing his rehab with physical therapy and training in the weight room with some light on-court work. The Warriors said they will provide an update when he’s cleared to practice. … Golden State improved to 8-0 at home this postseason and is 18-5 in Game 2s dating to the 2015 title run. … Green was voted to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.

QUOTABLE

“Steph is the best-conditioned athlete in this game, he never stops moving.” — Kidd

Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop.

Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going.

Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.

Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.

“A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.”

Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” Warriors playoff team led by Baron Davis that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.

That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run.

Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8 for 17. Jordan Poole also scored 19 off the bench.

Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark — “makes me look tough,” he quipped — went from the bridge of the star guard’s nose across his right cheek under the eye. Doncic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.

“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”

Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.

“I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”

Curry hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series. Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime.

“I didn’t have a field goal in the first half but that will never discourage me,” Thompson said. “I will always hunt my shot.”

Curry, last season’s scoring champ, missed his initial five 3-point tries before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.

The last time he led the Warriors in rebounding in a playoff game was Game 3 at Toronto in 2019, when he had eight.

Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.

“It was great to be back. I missed being out there with the guys,” Kerr said. “Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we’re excited to keep going.”

Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.

Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.

“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition,” Kidd said. “We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”

MAVS FINED

Dallas received a $50,000 fine by the NBA — the team’s second penalty this postseason — for “team bench decorum” during the Suns series after players and a member of the coaching staff remained standing for extended time far enough from the bench area that they were “encroaching upon the playing court during game action” during Game 7 against the Suns.

“Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,” Kidd said. “… Who complained? It was a blowout so I don’t think the fans were complaining. I thought the guys did what they were supposed to do. They were cheering on their guys.”

The previous fine against the Mavs was for $25,000 on May 6.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Reggie Bullock shot just 4 for 12 — 3 of 10 from long range — for 12 points. Dallas was 11 of 48 behind the arc. … The Mavericks were outrebounded 28-18 in the first half as Curry led all players with seven.

Warriors: F Otto Porter Jr. returned after missing Game 6 with soreness in his right foot and contributed 10 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes, one of seven Warriors to score in double figures. … Golden State, which averaged 19.2 turnovers per game last series, had six in the first half leading to 11 Dallas points and 15 overall. … Golden State improved to 7-0 at home this postseason. … The Warriors are 21-2 in Game 1s since their 2015 title run that ended with the franchise’s first championship in 40 years. …