The Warriors have ridden the three-point shot to multiple rings, but the Mavs looked like the most hungry team from downtown last night. Did it work in their favor?
Not this time.
Warriors 112, Mavericks 87
Series: GSW leads 1-0
Nobody has taken or made more three-pointers than the Dallas Mavericks in these playoffs. The Warriors have the greatest three-point shooter of all time on their roster in Stephen Curry. If you thought last night’s game was going to be a contest of two teams trying to go head-to-head from range, you would have been wrong, to the surprise of many.
Dallas stuck to their game plan, launching 48 triples. The problem was that they made just 11 of them as they shot a dismal 22.9 percent from beyond the arc. Luka Dončić – who has led Dallas’ relentless attack from deep – shot just 3-of-10 from three-point range. Only Spencer Dinwiddie (3-of-7) shot higher than 40 percent from downtown for the Mavericks on Wednesday night. The result? Just 87 points for the Mavs in a lopsided Game 1 loss to the Warriors.
N 🚫 P E pic.twitter.com/7QLC44Mynk
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 19, 2022
On the other hand, Golden State decided that they would take advantage of another strong suit of theirs. The Warriors let the Mavs live, and die, from beyond the arc while they went to town in the mid-range.
In the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, Steph Curry shot a solid 44.9 percent from the mid-range. Klay Thompson made 80 mid-range jumpers in limited action this season, and Andrew Wiggins hit 75 of his own. That’s where the Warriors made their mark in Game 1.
Steve Kerr admitted that the Mavericks did an excellent job of taking away their looks from behind the arc and admitted that his ideal game plan would be to shoot the lights out from downtown. After all, we have watched the Warriors ride that game plan to multiple NBA Championships during the current era. But when option A wasn’t there on Wednesday night, the Dubs took what was there and cruised to a victory.
“My ideal game is to shoot 70 percent from 3, actually,” Kerr said. “But I thought we took what the defense gave us. They did a good job taking away a lot of our threes, and a lot of our guys made those midranges that I think you have to make in the playoffs. I just feel like teams are going to take away layups, and they are going to take away threes. If you can step in and knock down some 15-footers, I think you have to be able to do that.”
Golden State shot 34-for-46 inside the arc and only put up 11 three-point shots in the second half. They took what the Mavs gave them, taking an early lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Dallas will indeed have a counter punch coming. The Suns beat them handily in the first two games of the conference semi-finals series in Phoenix, and many thought that the top-seeded squad was too much for the Mavs to handle. That wasn’t the case. Went the series shifted to Dallas, the Mavs had answers and rattled off four wins in the next five contests to punch their ticket into the Western Conference Finals.
You better bet that Luka Dončić, who scored a playoff-low 20 points on Wednesday night, will be ready to bounce back as he’s done in each of the first two rounds of these playoffs. The Warriors might take this series in the end, but I can’t imagine it will be as easy as it looked in Game 1.