5 takeaways from the Mavericks’ life-saving victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals
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DALLAS – Basketball fell to the periphery behind humanity for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, with the country and the NBA collectively reeling on Tuesday from the tragedy that unfolded 358 miles away. American Airlines Center in Uvalde, Texas.
Instead of talking about the personnel or the X’s and O’s leading to the denunciation of Dallas’ 119-109 win over Golden State, each team’s coaches took somber notes to place proper perspective on the insignificance of Game 4 versus to the senseless loss of life at Robb Elementary School.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd entered the interview room first. Hats back, the coach sat down quietly and unfolded a sheet of paper.
“I would like to say that our hearts go out to the victims and families of the horrific events in Uvalde, Texas,” Kidd read softly. “We send our condolences to our fellow Texans and hold them in our hearts. We’re really going to play with a heavy heart tonight for the community, for Robb Elementary School.
Fifteen minutes later, Warriors coach Steve Kerr sat down for his pre-game availability and immediately launched into an impassioned plea to our nation’s lawmakers.
Amid the tragedy, there was still basketball to be played. And shouldn’t take away from the excitement these teams delivered under difficult circumstances in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,810.
The Mavericks took their record to 3-0 in playoff games this postseason on a night of firsts that helped the team become the ninth since 1970-71 to win Game 4 of a Finals series. conference after leading 3-0.
We get into that and more in our five takeaways from Game 4:
1. Dallas accuracy from depth is a major factor
A few paragraphs ago we talked about Game 4 marking a night of firsts. Let’s start with the Mavericks shooting 50% on field goals for the first time in this series.
The Mavericks also drilled 20 of 43 from 3-point range, hitting at least 20 from beyond the arc for the fourth time this postseason. Dallas jumped the gates at red, with Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber each knocking down a combined six-3 in the first quarter. The trio ended the night making 12 of their 20 from downtown. Compare that to Game 3, when the trio sounded a combined 2 for 17 on the rims of the mic at the American Airlines Center.
Dallas’ 3-game streak came in bunches in Game 4, and you know superstar guard Luka Doncic also joined the action.
Luka’s step back 🎯 pic.twitter.com/ri4MLZ0SxR
— NBA Television (@NBATV) May 25, 2022
The Mavs have now made 65 3-pointers in the Western Finals, which ranks as the most in the first four games of a Conference Finals series. That’s right, that’s an NBA record and nine more than the No. 2 on the all-time roster, the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors.
Dallas holds a 20-3 record this season when hitting 17 or more 3-pointers, and the team is 6-2 in the playoffs under those conditions.
Four of the team’s five starters made 3-pointers, while they combined to contribute 104 points, which is the most for this group this postseason (starting center Dwight Powell was scoreless).
2. Doncic thrives under pressure
Throw the Slovenian superstar into a pressure situation and watch him come out shining like a diamond. In five career playoff games, Doncic has cooked opponents for 30 or more points for an average of 38.3 points, which is the most in NBA history.
On the same night the guard was named All-NBA First Team for the third time, Doncic orchestrated his 17th career game with 30 or more playoff points to tie Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant for second by an aged player. 23 years. or younger. LeBron James is the only player to have achieved more of these performances (21).
Game 4 also marked the 23-year-old forward’s sixth 30-10-5 playoff performance. Only James hosted more of these games before he reached the age of 24 (seven years old). Doncic ended the night one assist away from a triple-double.
“What he’s done for this team is amazing,” Kidd said. “Not just points and assists, but being able to bounce the ball. There at the end he came in with a nice little blocked shot to flesh out his defensive stats. He’s our leader. Where he goes, we go. He loves this scene.
3. Killer in the second and third trimesters
Despite scorching Golden State for seven 3-pointers in the first quarter with 58.3 percent accuracy, Dallas led by just four points (28-24) late in the first frame. Now kick off the team’s second and third quarters, in which the Mavericks outscored the Warriors 71-46. That’s how Dallas strutted confidently into the fourth quarter, leading by 29 points (99-70).
Even before that, Kerr began replacing his starters with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter and the Mavs leading by 24.
4. One Last First
The Mavericks emerged victorious in the Battle of the Boards for the first time in this series (45-42), but this victory was not as important as the others in determining the outcome of this contest. Going into the game, Golden State had outshot the home team 141-98 through the first three games, including a 47-43 advantage in Game 3 (14-7 on the offensive glass), leading the Warriors to beat Dallas 18-4 in second chance points.
In Game 4, Golden State finished with the paint score advantage (44-36) and second chance points (9-3).
So the Mavericks who win the glass in this one seem somewhat hollow. Especially, considering that Doncic knocked down 14 boards to tie the combined production of the other four starters. Warriors center Kevon Looney averaged a team-high 9.7 rebounds through the first three games of this series, but was limited to just six boards in Game 4.
5. Meet at the Chase Center
For a team dripping with championship pedigree with three future Hall of Famers in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Golden State is struggling to seal the deal in closing games. The Game 4 loss to the Mavs was the third missed opportunity this postseason for the Warriors to knock out an opponent in an elimination game.
Golden State nearly swept Denver in the first round, but Kia’s two-time MVP Nikola Jokic prevented that by lighting up the Warriors for 37 points in a 126-121 Game 4 win. Then the club fumbled the sack again as they failed to bounce Memphis out of the conference semifinals, falling in Game 5 to force the deciding Game 6 at Chase Center.
“From our previous two series, we learned that closing games are very difficult,” Looney said during the team shootout before Game 4. “You think teams are just going to fold, they don’t. They’re going to go out there and give their best fight.
The Warriors learned that the hard way in Game 4.
The thing is, Golden State has only had six sweeps in 26 series under Kerr, and that’s not an indictment of the team and the coach at all, as much as it indicates how bad he is. difficult to defeat an opponent four times in a row. in the pressure cooker environment of the NBA playoffs. Given the team’s extensive playoff experience, they knew exactly what was at stake. A four-game sweep would have provided the Warriors with more than a week of rest and preparation for the NBA Finals, while giving Otto Porter Jr. some extra time to heal, as he was ruled out of Game 4 with a left foot injury sustained in the previous contest.
The folks at Chase Center will gladly take the consolation prize of ticket and concession revenue for a Game 5 in San Francisco.
“We think it’s just one game at a time. We did our part tonight,” Kidd said. “We found a way to win. Now the next time is to find a way to win on the road. We cannot get ahead of ourselves. It’s still 3-1, and we know going to Golden State is a tough place to win. But we have already won. We just have to keep taking care of the ball and shooting.
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Michael C. Wright is Senior Writer for NBA.com. You can email him herefind his archives here and follow him on Twitter.
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