The top two teams in the Western Conference were booted out in convincing fashion by these two teams that are masters in their respective genres. That’s the thing about the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks - they play at varying tempos and dance to different beats. Now they get to test which one is superior.
The Warriors’ frantic pace versus the Mavericks’ old man-style ball. Steve Kerr versus Jason Kidd. The OG Splash Brothers plus Jordan Pool versus an entire Mavs team with a license to shoot. Draymond Green versus everybody.
Throw away the numbers and percentages. This series is going to be a lot of fun.
Most compelling storyline
This series features two of the league’s generational talents in Steph Curry and Luka Doncic. While Curry is obviously the more experienced in these types of nerve-racking scenarios, Doncic—as he’s shown in the Phoenix series—isn’t one to back down from pressure. Doncic wants the smoke, and he’s going to get it against Golden State.
A Curry-Doncic shootfest is something we have never seen in the playoffs, much less where a finals slot is at stake. In his career, Curry is averaging 30 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game in the Western Conference Finals. This is Doncic’s first trip. Will he try to top Curry? Of course.
A lot of eyes will be on the performance art of both Doncic and Curry that whoever will be assigned opposite them are instant X-factors. For the Warriors, that person could be Andrew Wiggins, who’s been matched up with Doncic several times in the regular season.
Wiggins has the length, strength, speed, and athleticism to match up against Doncic on the defensive end. With the Warriors’ deep offensive toolbox, an exhausted Wiggins won’t be much of a loss on the offensive end. If he’s able to, at the very least, limit Doncic’s ability to make the correct pass, then he’s done his job.
For Dallas, the odd backcourt pairing of Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie could swing this series. Doncic is expected to take the Mavericks at a level they need to be versus the Warriors, but Brunson and Dinwiddie should bring them home. Both are capable scorers who can explode at any given time if the Warriors aren’t careful.
The Warriors’ journey to the West finals has been interesting, to say the least. They absorbed a monster in Nikola Jokic and tamed a wild beast in Memphis. The Mavericks are sort of a combination of both, where they have that generational superstar they can rely on while having the support system that’s steady and reliable. If Doncic gets going, the next doable thing for the Warriors is to handcuff everyone else.
The Mavericks will surely be riding on the confidence and momentum of breaking the backs of the top-seeded Phoenix Suns. The deeper, more experienced Warriors will be a different story though. The trapping and frantic defense they employed on Devin Booker worked wonders, now they have to clone that to try to stop not just Curry, but Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson as well.