The Golden State Warriors will return to the NBA Finals for the 6th time in the past 8 seasons after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in five games on Thursday night 120-110. This Warriors team closed it out on their home floor in front of a Chase Center crowd that will get the opportunity to see their home team compete for a championship since the team moved across the bridge from Oakland to San Francisco in 2019.
This will be a homecoming feeling for the four players who have been part of each of they’re previous five championship runs.
The Warriors never trailed and led by as many as 25. Dallas was able to cut that lead to 8 points late in the 3rd with a 15-2 run to end the quarter. This was the first game of the series the team that won the 3rd quarter (Dallas 32-25 in 3rd) lost the game.
Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney all played like they were determined to get back to a place they’ve been so many times before. All them scored in double figures including first-year Warrior Andrew Wiggins who has been an intrical part to this Finals run.
The NBA gave away its first Western Conference Finals award which was named after the Hall of Famer and Laker great Earvin “Magic’ Johnson that was awarded to Steph Curry. It was Curry’s 128th career playoff game which ties his head coach Steve Kerr as a Player. He finished with 15 points and nine assist.
His backcourt mate Thompson, who will have his 6th straight trip to the Finals after missing the previous two seasons with injuries finished with a game-high 32 points (8-16 from 3-pt) with 19 coming in the 1st half.
“It’s hard to put into words really,” Thompson said. “This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful.”
His teammate Green, who scored his most points this series with 17 to go along with nine assist, spoke about Thompson’s hard work it took for him to get back on the court with his teammates after missing those two seasons. “You could see how much was missing the last couple of years,” Green said. “We’re lucky to have the Klay Thompson we know back because we know how good he is.”
Two of the biggest reasons for the Warriors success this year and throughout these playoffs were the play of bigman Looney and the play of former No.1 overall pick Wiggins.
Looney might have been the biggest difference in the game with his 18 rebounds (7 off) that gave his team the extra possessions late in the 4th to hold off Dallas, he also had 10 points to go along with it. Wiggins, who has embraced his role not being someone his team has to consistently count on every single night, was huge in this series. He averaged 18.6 PPG in the series and had a huge dunk in Game 3 that I believe put his team in full control of the series at the time. He finished with his average (even though he missed all seven of his 3-pt attempts) and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jordan Poole had 16 points off the bench.
They didn’t miss any of their 16 free throws and had 36 assist on 45 of their made field goals.
“For our team, our guys, especially the core group, to be part of that six times in eight years, I don’t even know what to say,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work.”
The Dallas Mavericks won their first playoff series this postseason since they won the NBA Championship back in 2011.
They weren’t able to overcome the 3-0 series deficit but gained a lot of respect from other teams in the Western Conference. Young Superstar Luka Doncic got this team to a place they haven’t been in a long time. He came into this elimination game averaging 36 points in closeout games this postseason. He finished with 28 points (15 in the 3rd), nine rebounds, and six assist (all team-highs), he struggled in the first half with just six points. Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley said at halftime about Luka’s lack of urgency, “He’s not competing, he’s lackadaisical, and it’s disappointing.”
“I don’t like losing, especially not like this,” Doncic said. “I played terrible. But if we’re talking about our season, I’m really proud of this team. … Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end.”
Spencer Dinwiddie, had his second best game of this postseason since his 30 point performance in Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns. He finished with 26 points and he made 5-7 from 3-pt. Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 13 points.
“We need Luka to go big a lot of nights just to give us a chance, and unfortunately the ball just didn’t go for him tonight,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think he carries the load as well as anyone, and I think for us as an organization, we’ll help lighten that load as we go forward.” He also spoke about his team’s future after the game; “We’ve laid the foundation now we can start building.”
The Warriors will now await the winner of the Miami/Boston series where the Celtics will have a chance to close the series in Game 6.