Game 4 of the Western Conference finals began on a somber note with a moment of silence for the victims of the senseless shooting tragedy in Uvalde, Texas that took the lives of several school children. When horrible things happen, it makes pro sports seem insignificant, but the NBA playoffs continued on. The Dallas Mavericks avoided a sweep in Game 4 when they defeated the Golden State Warriors 119-109 to stave off elimination for at least one more game.
The Warriors still lead 3-1 with Game 5 slated for Thursday night in San Francisco. The Warriors opened as -7 favorites in Game 5, which is a second chance for them to advance to the NBA Finals.
A team has never won a series after falling behind 3-0, but the Mavs are +1500 odds to pull off the comeback and win the next three games. The Warriors are -3500 odds to knock out the Mavs and win the Western Conference finals.
“I still believe we can win, you know,” said Luka Doncic. “Swept or not swept, in the end, if you lose, you lose. Don’t matter how many we win. We have to go game by game. We’re going to believe until the end.”
The Warriors are the consensus betting favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship at -145 odds, whereas the Mavs are the long shot on the DraftKings’ future board a +4500 odds.
Mavs: the first 3-happy victory
Doncic didn’t have to carry the entire offensive load to avoid a sweep in Game 4, despite a game-high 30 points for the Mavs. The rest of the team got the job done. Four out of the five starters scored 15 points, including 23 points from Dorian Finney-Smith and 18 points from Reggie Bullock. Maxi Kleber added 13 off the bench.
The Mavs once again leveraged their long-range shooting to build a big lead in the second quarter. The Mavs busted the Warriors’ zone defense and finished Game 4 with 20 made-treys for a 46.5% success rate.
“Everybody in that locker room felt like we had more basketball to play,” said Finney-Smith said. “We just wanted to get the win any way. Feel like we came out desperate that first half.”
The Warriors led 31-29 before the Mavs unleashed a 10-0 run the seize the momentum. They closed out the second quarter on a 33-16 run and were up 15 heading into halftime. The game was delayed for more than 15 minutes at the start of the third quarter due to a leak in the roof. Despite the extended halftime period, the Mavs didn’t let up in the third quarter and led by as many as 29 points.
Game 4 looked like another blowout in the playoffs before the Mavs’ second unit coughed up the lead and head coach Jason Kidd had to re-insert his starters back in the game. The Mavs locked up their first and only victory in the conference finals.
“I just want to win the game and that’s it,” added Doncic. “We got more to do, you know. This is nothing. We got three more.”
Warriors: late surge not enough
Heading into Game 4, the Warriors were 0-2 in games when they had their first chance at a close-out to end the series this postseason. They were up 3-0 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round, but dropped Game 4 before clinching the series in Game 5. In the second round against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors were up 3-1, but lost Game 5 in Memphis before clinching in Game 6 in San Francisco. In the Western Conference finals, the Warriors had the Mavs on the ropes, but failed to deliver a knockout blow and secure a sweep while up 3-0.
“We weren’t alert tonight defensively,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “We weren’t sharp. And I thought we let them kind of get into a groove, and once a team like that gets into a 3-point groove, it’s tough to get them out of it.”
Once again, the Mavs were able to dominate their opponents from the perimeter. The Warriors mustered up just 10 treys compared to 20 from the Mavs, which was a 30-point differential.
The Warriors finally came to life in the fourth quarter — outscoring the Mavs 39-20 — in garbage time, but the Mavs slammed the door shut on any comeback attempt to avoid the sweep.
“There’s no panic,” said Kidd. “We had a pretty big lead. They had to make a decision. They brought their group back in and couldn’t get it done.”
Steph Curry led the Warriors with 20 points in the loss. Rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody made the most of their rare playing time. Kuminga scored 17 points in 22 minutes while Moody added 10 points.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.