Big teams tend to grow in big moments.
The Golden State Warriors trailed in the first half of Game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks by as many as 19 points before going into halftime with a 14-point deficit. But in the second half they simply blew out the Mavericks 68-45 to win 126-117. and get halfway to the NBA Finals.
A 25-13 third period sealed Game 2 of the series that moves to the American Airlines Center in Dallas starting Sunday for the next two games.
one.- Luka Doncić had another historic game of 42 points and Jalen Brunson, at 31, continues to show he’s a top-tier postseason player. Both became the first pair of teammates to score at least 20 points in a playoff half, with 24 and 20, respectively.
But they need more help, from both sides of the court, offensively and defensively. Doncic looked like good weather during the third period completely exhausted. He was 5-for-12 from the field; 3 of 5 in triples, in the first half. In the third quarter, he only made two baskets in five attempts, without triples in just two shots. He had to play all 12 minutes of the fourth.
Brunson scored three points in the penultimate quarter and the Mavericks’ entire starting lineup combined for 10 points in that quarter.
The Mavericks made 15 of 27 3-pointers in the first half and just 2 of 13 in the second. That’s not winning basketball against the NBA’s newest dynasty.
two.- If the Mavericks are going to come back in the series, as they did against the Phoenix Suns, who had the best regular-season record in the NBA, they will have to adjust. Coach Jason Kidd has been brought into the school by his colleague Steve Kerr, but he has shown ability this postseason and that he knows how to motivate his guys.
They have to play consistent and physical defense throughout the game. Dwight Powell he is missing, as is often the case when he runs into aggressive players below the rim. David Bertans does not have the speed, nor the ability, to defend against players like Kevin Looneya lot less Draymond Greenwhen the Warriors play small lineup.
Kidd has to find a way to prevent other players from getting past Stephen Curry score above twenty points. It is impossible to stop the Golden State star, but we will have to try not to leave his parameters and that the others do less damage.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
1.- Curry is playing at the level he knows how to play in the postseason and that will put him in the Hall of Fame five years after retirement.
In Game 2 he showed much more than his 32 points; he physically and mentally tore up the Mavericks on both ends of the floor.
More importantly, Curry had the help of rotation players who appeared when on the scoreboard. Klay Thompson and Green did not score.
Looney had one of his best games as a center for Golden State with his first 20-point game (21) and was part of three players with at least 20 points and shooting 70 percent from the field. Six Warriors were in double digits offensively.
In this postseason, teams that run fast in the third period win games. And so the Warriors showed again that they won that period 25-13, to cut a 14-point deficit to just two.
2.- The Warriors will face a hostile climate in Dallas completely, similar to what the Mavericks had to endure in San Francisco. So they can’t afford to start the game as cold as they did on Friday, when they were blown out in the first half.
They have to defend Luka Doncic early on in Game 3 with more personal defense on the perimeter and keep adjusting like they did in Game 2 when they put in Looney.
Doncic went hitless on three shots when Looney was in front of him and overall the Mavericks only made 1-for-11 shooting when he was the primary defensive back.
On offense, Golden State has been playing with screens and from home court that have allowed Curry, Looney, Andrew Wiggins and Thompson have good looks at the rim and open shots. From the outside they are almost unstoppable.
The Warriors will enter Dallas with a 2-0 lead for the 16th time in the postseason under Steve Kerr, that is, since 2015. And they have won 14 of the previous 15 series in which they held that lead.
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Warriors, halfway to another Final