The Warriors seek to shut down the Mavericks and return to the finals

Golden State faces Dallas in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors are in family territory after not closing a series on the road and waiting for known results when they return home.

For the third straight series, the Warriors lost their first chance to advance as they played on the road. But they can reach their sixth NBA Finals in eight years by finishing the Dallas Mavericks at home in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night.

The Warriors have managed to recover from those mistakes in the first two games against Denver and Memphis and hope to repeat after losing 119-109 in Dallas on Tuesday night, when the Mavericks started fast and did not slow down until the fourth quarter.

“It’s a good lesson learned,” guard Stephen Curry said. “You guys are throwing your hats off because they fired a lot. We had a couple of breakdowns in our area that made them look easy, and they made us pay. We knew how to close them, it’s going to be hard. So you have to tie up the defense. When we go home, game 5 and figure out how to slow them down, especially in the first quarter. “

The Mavericks avoided elimination three times this postseason, winning games 6 and 7 against Phoenix in the second round and then again against the Warriors in Game 4. None of the games were particularly contentious, with Dallas outscoring opponents by 70 points in the game. the three victories. Luka Doncic led the way with 98 points and 35 rebounds in all three wins, but says the key was aggressiveness in attack and more commitment to defense.

“We have to believe,” Doncic said. “I think our defense was much better today, and I think we attacked painting. Those two things are key, and that’s what we have to bring to San Francisco.”

The Warriors returned to the game in the fourth quarter thanks to a new lineup of 22-year-old Jordan Poole and 19-year-old rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. points to eight points in the first 8:38 of the fourth quarter before Curry and the headlines began to return.

The Mavericks closed it from there but the flashes of the young group could make them gain more time. Kuminga had not played the previous two games before scoring 17 points in just under 22 minutes in Game 4.

“It was great because they had the opportunity to go out there and make their presence felt, impact the game, build some confidence and experience in this series and what it feels like to be out there,” Curry said.

It was a high and low series for Reggie Bullock of Dallas and getting the best version of it will be key if the Mavericks want to stay alive. Bullock made six triples and scored 21 points in a loss in the second game before becoming the fifth player since at least 1968 to make at least 10 shots and not score in a playoff game.

Bullock responded in Game 4 by making 6 of 10 triples and scoring 18 points. That took the pressure off Doncic, along with rebounding performances from Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 23 points on 9 of 13 shots, and Maxi Kleber, who was 5 of 6 for 13 points after missing 12 of 14 shots first. three games.

“We just made shots and we were also making stops, so we had a chance to play a little faster, and we got open shots at the beginning of the launch clock and not like at the end of the launch clock trying to fire a bomb,” Finney said. said Smith.

No team went 3-0 to win a playoff series in the top seven in NBA history and it would even be rare to return to Dallas for Game 6. Of the previous 146 teams that took a 3-0 lead, 90 finished the series with one sweep and 42 more won it in five. With a win on Thursday, the Mavs would be the 12th team to force a Game 6 and only three teams reached a Game 7 before losing.

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The Warriors seek to shut down the Mavericks and return to the finals

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