Mavs avoid sweeping against Warriors on emotional day in Dallas

The Mavericks avoided elimination against Golden State, but the focus wasn't just basketball for either team.

USA About: Warriors Publish: 05/25/2022 Edit: 05/25/2022 Author: Gardener


MavsDALLAS — In the first three games of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors thoroughly won the defensive struggle against the Mavericks. Through a combination of looks that included a hedge-and-recovery man scheme, some switching, some box-and-one, and lots of zone, Golden State held Dallas at an offensive rating of 106.3 from games 1-3 , to Elite brand. Leave it to Mavs coach Jason Kidd to turn those plans into positives: Dallas was finally able to capitalize on the Warriors on Tuesday and book their first win of the series as the Dubs still go 3-1 back at bay. The Mavs' 119-109 win in Game 4 rested on the strength of their outside shooting when their threes finally started dripping like rain through the leaking roof of the Dallas arena. After shooting just 32.6% on threes in the first three contests, the Mavs tied 20 of 43 on Tuesday night, good for 46.5%. As an example of just how powerful the turn was, Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith shot together 2-of-12 from deep in Game 3. As Finney-Smith put it after the game, "If we were going to lose today, I wanted to go shooting." The attention paid to Luka Dončić often draws outside looks to the Mavs' supporting cast. The Warriors were generally reluctant to give Luka the switches he wanted this series, and that reluctance, along with the inclusion of zone looks, can put defenses in constant rotations. In their postseason wins, the Mavs are shooting 40.8% to 42 three-pointers per game. In their losses, they shoot just 33.7% on 40.8 attempts per game. Of all the teams remaining in the playoffs, Dallas has the best three-point win percentage as well as the highest number of attempts per game. After the game, Steve Kerr lamented his team's performance, saying they were not alert or defensively sharp. Golden State has mixed in so much coverage that assistant coach Mike Brown yells off the bench and yells duties for much of the game while Dallas gets the ball on the floor. At the other end of the floor, Golden State seemed lethargic. The Warriors couldn't build much offense into the fourth quarter. The Dubs were as much as 29 points behind in the second half until a bench unit cut the lead to just eight points in the fourth quarter. The end result made the game look more competitive than it was. The Mavs had obviously taken their foot off the gas, and when the Golden State starters checked back in with just minutes to go, they never seriously threatened to make things interesting. More importantly, of course, the game took place just hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, just over 350 miles from the arena. Kidd read out a prepared statement and declined to answer a basketball question. He said he was unable to keep his voice down given the circumstances as he tried to collect his thoughts. After Kidd, Kerr delivered an impassioned speech that lasted nearly three minutes. I'm so tired of standing up here and offering my condolences to the devastated families out there. I'm so sick of the excuses. I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough," Kerr said, adding, "To all the senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school and supermarket shootings, I ask you, 'Are you going to put your own desire for power over the lives of our children? our elderly and our churchgoers?' Because that's the way it looks.” Kerr, his emotions palpable, called the lack of action “pathetic” before saying, “I've had enough” and quickly exiting his press conference. Stephen Curry said after the game he appreciated Kerr's leadership, adding that shooting was "all the talk of the moment he came into the game". Sharing Kerr's pre-tip speech on his Twitter account, he wrote, "Watch this as many times as you watch the game tonight." Perhaps the most impactful thing that happened on the pitch on Tuesday happened nearly an hour after the game, when there was no one left in the stands: Draymond Green, beaming as he walked with his family through the middle of the mostly empty gymnasium, his children on either side.


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