Golden State overturns the Mavs with a stellar second half and a splendid team performance. Sunday race-3 in Texas: Luka and his teammates can no longer make mistakes
An unexpected hero, Kevon Looney. A star who “smells the blood” and makes a difference in the finale like Steph Curry. A team that, all of them, level up when it matters most. These are the ingredients of the 126-117 with which Golden State takes race-2 against Dallas, building with a comeback from -19 the 2-0 in the Western Conference final which will move to Texas from Sunday. “In the second half we put in the determination that we lacked in the first” repeats Steve Kerr. A question of attitude, of course, but also of defense. The one that the Mavs did not take, to which the 42 points of the bruised Luka Doncic were not enough to snatch at least one victory in San Francisco. Jason Kidd’s team returned home at 2-0, but in Game-2 it showed that they are very close to winning. “Yes, we lack defense: we need to improve” Doncic says.
After the 72 points awarded to the Mavs before half-time, Kerr’s team limited their opponents to 41.2%, preventing them from making a three-pointer (15 triples per target in the first half, 6 in the second). It wasn’t just Curry’s 32 points that made the difference: it was the team, the contribution that Coach Kerr manages to pull out of every single player he employs. “At this point in the playoffs you only face big teams and to beat them you need everyone, whether they are stars or role players,” explains the Warriors coach. And then in a game in which Draymond Green gets nervous, Looney becomes fundamental, devastating with 21 points and 12 rebounds in underlining the weak point of Dallas: the protection of the iron. On him the Warriors build 62 points in the area, with his ability to take rebound essential to create chances. In addition to Looney, Andrew Wiggins is also decisive, able to help both in attack (16 points) and in the impossible task of limiting Doncic. Jordan Poole (23 points) grew with the passing of the match, in the second half Kerr successfully gave important minutes also to rookie Moody, factor from the bench like Porter. “This series is about to get even tougher – warns Kerr looking at race-3 -: Dallas has already shown how much you change at home”.
Kidd also hopes for a metamorphosis of his Mavs. The 19-point lead thrown away hurts, but having them is also the confirmation that Dallas can stay at this level. “We had a chance to win by executing the match plan. We just have to understand that we cannot be stubborn with the triple, that if we are wrong 4 in a row the fifth we must not take it and try to attack the iron “says the coach. The Mavs collapsed in the third quarter, allowing Golden State to get back into the game: the fault of the too predictable attack, but also of the defense that in the second half gave the Warriors 61% from the field. Doncic was overflowing after the flop in Game-1, finding a big hand from inspired Jalen Brunson (31 points) and Reggie Bullock’s triples (6 on target for 21 points). But this time the Mavs missed the bench, with Spencer Dinwiddie nil (4 points and 2/6 shooting) and Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans still unable to get noticed. “We have to forget this match and think about the next one – says Luka -. We have to believe in ourselves, believe we can win ”. It will be essential, already in race-3.
Dallas escapes on 26-10 at 5 ‘from the first siren thanks to the unstoppable Doncic (18 points in the first quarter), Golden State shortens but in the second period Dallas escapes again, building an advantage over the 15 triples at the target of the first half that arrives even at 19 points. The second half restarts with the Mavs ahead 72-58, but while the host attack gets jammed (just 13 points and 5/19 shooting) the home attack rises to stellar level, with Looney (11 points in the period) unexpected hero. Porter’s triple in the inaugural possession of the 4th period gives Golden State the first advantage of the game (86-85): Doncic (14 points in the period) and Brunson try to keep Dallas afloat, but in the final Curry raises the level further and Chase Center can explode.
Golden State:Curry 32 (5/11 from two, 6/10 from three, 4/4 free throws), Poole 23, Looney 21. Rebounds: Looney 12. Assists: Curry 5, Green 5, Thompson 5, Wiggins 5, Poole 5.
Dallas:Doncic 42 (7/13, 5/10, 13/15 tl), Brunson 31, Bullock 21. Rebounds: Finney-Smith 8. Assist: Doncic 8.
May 21 – 7:26 am
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