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Golden State took care of business on Sunday. They withstood a late run from the Mavs to secure the road win and take a 3-0 lead in the series. Though anything is possible, teams that take a 3-0 lead are 146-0 in winning the series. How did we get to this point? Well, let’s dive in and see why you can’t blame Luka Dončić for the loss.
Warriors 109, Mavericks 100 (GSW leads 3-0)
Andrew Wiggins is well on his way to winning the first ever Western Conference Finals MVP award. His value can’t be understated on both ends of the floor. His offensive game adds a new dimension to the Warriors’ already lethal offense. His defense on Luka has been timely. It isn’t the first time that a player has been given credit for their defense on a guy scoring 40 a game (see Andre Iguodala vs. LeBron James in 2015), but he has been a crucial piece to Golden State making life difficult for one of the best basketball players on the planet. Wiggins scored a playoff career-high 27 points in this game to go with 11 rebounds and one monster poster dunk.
Despite his struggles earlier this season, Stephen Curry has been himself again lately. He’s hit 14 of his 29 attempts from deep in this series, including hitting six in this game on his way to 31 points. He also added in 11 assists, which was the most he’s had this postseason. If the Warriors keep this up, Curry could finally win his first Finals MVP.
Klay Thompson didn’t get off to the best start and ended up shooting 6-for-18. Still, he made some timely baskets down the stretch as the Warriors took a commanding lead. Klay finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and three triples. Unlike Curry, Klay’s been off this series. Before shooting 3-for-10 from deep in this game, he had shot 1-for-4 in each of the first two games. It’s scary to think they’re up 3-0, and Klay has yet to be Klay. If he can turn it on in Game 4, watch out.
Draymond Green had a very Draymond statline. He filled it up with a 10/5/5/2/1 line with a technical foul. Kevon Looney’s versatility isn’t always shown on the stat sheet, but he has grabbed 12 rebounds in two consecutive games now. Dallas has struggled to keep him off the glass, largely because they play a small lineup. Dwight Powell only played eight minutes for the Mavs, which left Looney virtually unstoppable when attacking the glass.
After shooting 15-for-22 over the first two games, Jordan Poole had a much quieter game. He had 10 points, five rebounds, and two steals off the bench, while hitting a dagger from deep to seal the win.
Otto Porter left the game with soreness in his left foot after playing seven minutes. The X-rays came back negative, so we should get an update on Monday.
Luka gave it everything he had. They trailed 100-86 with 4:14 left, and he helped narrow it to 104-99 with 1:15 remaining in the fourth before Poole’s triple sealed the deal. It was a case of too little, too late. Luka finished with a line of 40/11/3/1/2 with four triples. This was his third 40-point game this postseason and the eighth of his career. However, they’re 0-3 this postseason and 2-6 in his playoff career when he’s scored at least 40. It shouldn’t be discredited just because they lost, but it would look a lot prettier with a win.
As far as help goes, Spencer Dinwiddie scored 26 points off the bench with four triples. Jalen Brunson scored 20 points with five rebounds and three assists. But that’s really it. Dorian Finney-Smith scored nine points. Davis Bertans had a dunk. Bertans, Reggie Bullock, and Maxi Kleber combined to shoot 0-for-14 from deep, and 1-for-18 from the floor, which was Bertans’ dunk. Aside from Luka, Dinwiddie, and Brunson, Dallas combined for just 14 points despite getting plenty of good shot opportunities. If they can shoot better in Game 4, they shouldn’t have a problem extending the series. However, the rebounding has to be better too. Luka led the team with 11 boards, but the next highest was five from Brunson. The two starting guards shouldn’t be the leading rebounders, and you can’t lose the rebounding battle 47-33 if you want to beat this Warriors team. I expect Dallas to defend their homecourt in Game 4, and it should be fun to see Luka with his back against the wall.
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After leaving Game 3 early because of inflammation in his knee, Jimmy Butler said that he intends to play in Game 4. We’ll see if it flares up again or if he’ll be able to play the whole game.
The rest of the Heat are questionable. Tyler Herro (groin), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (knee), and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) are all listed on the injury report as questionable. However, it would be a surprise if any of them didn’t play. The Heat have been filling up the injury report all postseason, with everyone getting cleared shortly before tipoff.
Jayson Tatum is listed as probable with right cervical nerve impingement. Expect him to not only play, but to rebound from a poor Game 3 with a strong performance in Game 4 as Boston tries to avoid going down 3-1 before heading back to Miami.
Marcus Smart (ankle) and Robert Williams (knee) are both listed as questionable. Smart messed up his ankle pretty badly in Game 3 but used adrenaline to play through it. We’ll see if he’s recovered enough to play in Game 4. As for Williams, expect him to be a staple on the injury report for the remainder of the postseason. He’ll need to use the off-season to fully recover from this knee injury. Derrick White and Grant Williams should see extra minutes if these guys aren’t good to go.