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|Warriors Win Percentage||42.89%|
|Mavericks Win Percentage||57.11%|
|Warriors-Mavericks Over / Under||218|
|Game Date & Time||May 22nd, 9 p.m. ET|
In a playoff series that has been defined by a game of runs, Game 2 of this one was no different. Luka Doncic and Steph Curry displayed a masterclass back and forth performance between two top stars in the league. The Mavericks would blow a 19-point second-quarter lead to go home down two games in the series.
Predictably Doncic came out firing early to get the Mavericks going. He scored 18 of his 40 in the first quarter alone. The Mavericks adjusted to have him attack in isolation early and his patented step-back jump shot was falling. He would have 24 in the first half with 3 of 5 shooting from three.
The Mavericks as a team were on fire to start the game. They would go into halftime shooting 15/27 on threes. Then the third quarter happened. The Warrior’s defense tightened up, allowing only a 13-point third. The Mavericks would shoot 2/13 from 3 and have a 19-point lead squandered to only two going into the fourth. Meanwhile, the Warriors dominated the inside all night. They won the points in the paint 62-30. Even while cold, the Mavericks continued to fire and it allowed the Warriors to make their run and claw back into the game.
One key in Game 3 for the Mavericks is to find a way to defend the point of attack more effectively. After having the 7th-ranked defense in the league this season, they are giving up a 122.1 defensive rating for the series. Curry and Jordan Poole mainly, have been able to blow past Dallas defenders at will, either getting to the basket or kicking out for open threes.
The Mavericks got their second contributor in Game 2, even if it fell short. Jalen Brunson would get his 30, but only 3 in the 3rd quarter in which the Warriors made their run. They are going to need him to continue this aggressive play at home for Game 3. His rim pressure and ball-handling allow Doncic to have a break from full offensive creation responsibilities. His offense is essential to put pressure on Poole, Curry, and Klay to defend more than just spot-up shooters.
The center spot is still the most important X factor for Dallas. There were only 7 minutes for Dwight Powell in Game 2, who seems more unplayable as the series goes on. With the Warriors sticking with Kevon Looney for long stretches, he impacts an already tight spacing on the floor to clog the lanes for Brunson and Doncic.
In addition, Powell is just too slow to step up or switch on to the perimeter guys of Golden State. This puts a ton of pressure on Maxi Kleber to not only stay out of foul trouble but contribute on offense. His spacing is crucial to the offensive flow of the team. The pick and pop is a staple that a bunch of their offense revolves around. Kleber is only 2/9 from three in the series and a turnaround is necessary for Dallas to make this competitive.
The Warriors continued their unbeaten home playoff record in Game 2. A key will be if the role guys can continue their stellar production on the road. Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney were integral parts of winning Games 1 and 2. Wiggins followed up his great Game 1 with 16 points 5 rebounds 5 assists, and a few clutch baskets to bring the Warriors back from the large deficit. Kevon Looney had 21 points and 12 rebounds, dominating inside and helping to shut off the paint.
A huge edge the Warriors have is their experience, with many guys on the team with multiple final runs under their belts. Draymond Green would foul out in Game 2 and was a team-worst -19, while Thompson was only 2-8 from three in the first two home games. They will need both of them to bounce back to get a road win in Dallas.
Curry has started to find his space in this series. He has put up 26.5 points on 47% from three in the first two games. The Mavericks just don’t have the defensive presence inside to deter him from the rim, and their bigs aren’t agile enough to switch or step up on his pull-up jumpers. I would expect Dallas to start trapping more aggressively as they did Devin Booker against the Suns, and try to take the ball out of Curry’s hands.
With the Mavericks returning home and their shooters starting to find a rhythm, they should be able to get their first win of the series. I expect Doncic to come out aggressive again and the role guys will be more comfortable in Dallas. I have Dallas taking Game 3 at -145 at Caesars.
The Mavericks will take game 3 and get their first win of the series 110-103