DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks avoided a sweep with victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the conference finals series.
It seemed at times that the Warriors took the night off in intensity and decision to close their ticket to the NBA Finals.
On the opposite side, the Mavericks appeared with a different rhythm and intensity even from the players who had been missing in the series, either in points and defense.
But either way, in the final minutes the game was indigestible for the Mavericks against a majority of backups from the Warriors, who at times seemed resigned to the series returning to their arena.
“Our mentality is still to play game by game and go day by day,” he said. Luka Doncić after the 119-109 win.
How Dallas won, and how it forces a Game 6
The Mavs extended the series to a fifth game with Luka Doncic at a high level, but with the invaluable contribution of Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson and Reggie Bullock.
1.- Team game: Some Mavericks who had been missing from the scoreboard almost chronically appeared on the court at last, including Maxi Cleberwho scored 13 points and made an impact since coming off the bench for the first time in the opening period.
Kleber also had eight rebounds and three blocks that made life difficult for the Warriors near the paint.
Six Dallas players were in double digits in points, led again by Luka Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smithwho with his 23 units raised his hand, after scoring 5, 10 and 9 in the previous three games.
2.- Dallas won its first third period of the series, 34-23, after leading 62-47 at halftime. It was enough cushion to avoid another collapse like the one in the second game, since in the last quarter they were overwhelmed by the Warriors 39-20.
The Mavericks won the rebounding battle, but again lost the scoring battle in the paint and on second chances. That’s why the game was complicated in the end.
Moving the ball with quick passes was the antidote to the offense. His 30 assists represent his most in the postseason since 32 in the first round in 2011; the year they were champions.
3.- The Mavericks have nothing to lose and will have to go out and play loose, without pressure and with a lot of energy, as was evident on Tuesday night, when even their own fans seemed resigned to the sweep of Golden State.
They will have to be convinced in Game 5 that victory is possible. The series for many should be tied 2-2, if the Mavericks had not squandered the great advantage they had in the Golden State arena in Game 2. But they have to come out fast and effective for the second half, because they already saw the way. when the Warriors can close out games.
They have to keep trying to get into the paint to make less complicated shots than behind the arc, because it’s impossible to think they’ll have back-to-back nights where they make 20 of 43 3-point attempts.
Reggie Bullock You have to play at their level. After 12 straight misses at home, he finally started scoring. All six of his baskets were triples.
Doncic penetrates and converts two.
Warriors relaxed, but still in control
1.- The Warriors saw their nine-game winning streak in the Western Conference Finals and seven wins in a row over the Mavericks in the playoffs stopped, counting the four-game sweep in 2007, when they were the worst seeded and Dallas had the best NBA brand.
Stephen CurryAs always, he was at his level. He added his 100th postseason game with at least 20 points, in addition to eight assists, in practically only three periods and 33 minutes on the court.
The Warriors benched most of the fourth-quarter starters, thinking the game was over for the Mavericks. But with less than four minutes left, the substitutes made the game competitive and Curry returned to the floor.
They didn’t come back, but they gave the 19,200 fans who packed the American Airlines Center a good scare.
2.- Perhaps relaxed from Game 3, some Golden State starters were less productive Tuesday, in particular Kevin Looneywho only scored three points and six rebounds.
Shots from behind the arc were far less accurate than in previous games, with 10-of-28 shooting from 3-point range, including just two-of-six for Klay Thompsonand the disadvantage on the scoreboard grew.
If not for the 51 points that the bench scored, the score would have been much more scandalous.
3.- The Warriors are still in total control of the series, despite the loss in Game 4. The next one is in their arena, where they are 8-0 in these playoffs in front of an audience that actually becomes opponent’s rival.
No team has gone from 0-3 in playoff history and the Warriors know how to close. They seek their sixth Finals in eight years.
They can’t afford to give up 20 3-pointers to the Mavericks, or fall behind in the series by more than 20 points, as they did in Game 2 and Game 4 of the series.
On Tuesday the difference was 15 points; in Game 2, of 14, so it’s hard to think about coming back again, and in a 3-2 series the pressure is already beginning to be felt.
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Mavericks took advantage of Warriors’ lack of intensity