What we learned as Wiggins stars in Warriors' pivotal win vs. Mavs

What we learned as Wiggins stars in Warriors' pivotal win vs. Mavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Andrew Wiggins scored 12 of his team-high 23 points in the third quarter, and the Warriors benefited from two goal-tending calls in the final three minutes as they held on for a crucial 104-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Chase Center.

Stephen Curry had 13 points, seven assists and seven rebounds at to help the Warriors win their fifth straight. It’s the third time this season that Golden State has won five in a row.

The game got close again in the final moments after Kyrie Irving made two free throws to cut the gap to 102-100 with 15 seconds left.

Klay Thompson was intentionally fouled and made both free throws to secure the victory.

Golden State inched closer to clinching a playoff spot with the victory. The Warriors (41-34) moved three games up on the Houston Rockets in the chase for the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference, with seven regular-season games remaining. The Rockets lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier in the day.

Golden State clung to a 94-92 lead late in the fourth quarter when Draymond Green appeared to get his shot blocked by Dallas’ Daniel Gafford. But Gafford was whistled for goal-tending, increasing the Warriors lead to 96-92.

Green later tried to tip-in a miss by Curry but the Mavericks were called for goal-tending again.

A few moments later, Green blocked a shot by Gafford, grabbed the rebound then tossed it up the court before flexing as the crowd at Chase Center roared.

Thompson scored 14 points. Green added 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

It’s the Warriors’ first win in three games against the Mavericks this season. That should give Golden State some momentum over the final seven games. These two teams play each other again Friday in Dallas.

The Warriors got off to a slow start and trailed 9-0 before many fans had even found their seats. After Wiggins helped them come back to lead at the end of the first quarter, the game stayed tight up until the end.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday’s game:

Wiggs back in form

Coming off one of his worst shooting games of the 2023-24 season, Wiggins got off to another slow start against the Mavs before finding his stroke in the second half.

Wiggins, who missed five of his first seven attempts and was minus-1 in the first half, was much sharper in the third quarter. He nailed four of his first five shots coming out of the break and put up 12 of the Warriors’ 31 points in the third quarter.

Wiggs also spent a considerable amount of time guarding Luka Doncic, who was steady all game, scoring 30 points while taking 20 shots. Few of his shots were wide open, as Wiggins and others tried to contain him.

With seven games left in the regular season, Wiggins is truly the X factor for Golden State. When he’s off, the offense tends to sputter. But when he’s shooting in stride like he was against Dallas, there is just a different, more confident feel to things.

Bench bunch comes through again

Golden State’s bench continues to be one of the NBA’s best and showed why again while helping spark the win over Dallas.

Like he has most of the year, Paul provided a big spark with his scoring, play-making and directing the second unit. Paul shot 6 of 11 and dished out five assists.

Rookie Brandin Podziemski also came through with another solid all-around effort, proving why the Warriors coaches aren’t too concerned about his scoring. He had five points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Self-inflicted pain

A large chunk of the issues that the Warriors had against the Mavs were caused more by themselves than anything Dallas did.

Golden State played pretty well defensively but missed numerous open shots and once again had trouble taking care of the ball. The Warriors committed 17 turnovers that led to 25 points.

Everyone was guilty. Curry appeared to miss a pair of layups that hit the side of the backboard then made another turnover in the third quarter when he dribbled the ball off his foot.

Turnovers have been an issue for the Warriors for several seasons. It comes with their high-paced play. It’s also one of the reasons during the 2023-24 season that the team has been unable to consistently find a smooth rhythm on offense.

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