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NBA Western Conference finals Game 2: Can Mavs bounce back after abysmal Game 1?

·4 min read
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TV: TNT, 9 p.m. ET

BetMGM line: Warriors -6.5

Golden State dominated Game 1

The entire Dallas Mavericks team is looking for better results after being blown out by the Golden State Warriors in Game 1. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were ice cold to open the contest, but the Warriors still won, 112-87. Dallas — and star Luka Doncic — will need to figure out a way to stop the Warriors' high-powered offense and dominant defense. Given the vintage performance the Warriors turned in during Game 1, the Mavericks' season could be over if they drop the first two games in San Francisco.

Mavericks need to step up

The Warriors did a good job with Doncic in Game 1. He went 6-of-18 from the floor, scoring 20 points. Doncic got some help from Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson in the opener, but it wasn't enough to keep the Mavericks in the game. Doncic has the ability to single-handedly lead the Mavericks to wins, but if the Warriors continue to limit his effectiveness, the Mavericks are going to need someone else to step up and carry the offensive load, or at least someone to take some pressure off Doncic.

Andrew Wiggins (right) playing defense against Luka Doncic (left).
Andrew Wiggins locked up Luka Doncic in Game 1. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

3 things to watch

1: Andrew Wiggins vs. Luka Doncic

Andrew Wiggins was the most impressive player for the Warriors in Game 1. He not only dropped 19 points on the Mavericks, but was also tasked with shutting down Doncic. Wiggins accomplished that. Limiting Doncic to 20 points is quite a feat. Getting him to shoot 33 percent from the field is even more impressive.

Steve Kerr liked what he saw from Wiggins in Game 1.

“I think it’s very important to try to make [Doncic] work,” Kerr said. “Any great player in the league, you’re just trying to limit the damage they do. I think Wiggs picking him up, trying to make him exert some energy was definitely helpful.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd also credited Wiggins' play, saying he "did a really good job."

It's no secret stopping Doncic is the key to beating the Mavericks. Wiggins may get overshadowed on the offensive end as the series drags on, but his defensive contributions will play a bigger role in whether the Warriors advance.

2: How will Mavericks adjust this time?

Losing Game 1 has not been an issue for the Mavericks this postseason. The team dropped its first game against the Utah Jazz in the first round, and rebounded to win the series in six games. The Mavericks also lost Game 1 against the Phoenix Suns, only to eventually defeat Phoenix in seven games.

Kidd received plenty of credit for making the necessary adjustments against the Suns.

Kidd's ability to adjust will again play a crucial role in whether the Mavericks make this a competitive series.

3: Mavericks need to shoot better from beyond the arc

Following Game 1, Kidd mentioned the Mavericks' poor night from beyond the arc as something that needs to change. "When you shoot 48 threes, we gotta make some," Kidd said after the loss. The Mavericks went 11-for-48 from beyond the arc in Game 1, good for a 22.9 percent success rate.

The Mavericks shot 35 percent on threes during the regular season. The team has been even better in the postseason. Even after Wednesday's poor showing, the Mavericks are hitting 37.2 percent of their three pointers in 14 postseason games.

Was Wednesday's performance an outlier or a result of the Mavericks playing one of the best defensive teams in basketball? The Mavericks will have to hope for the former.