The Golden State Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals with a fairly easy victory against the Dallas Mavericks. The upbeat Warriors beat the lackadaisical Mavs 112-87 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr returned to the sidelines after missing a couple of games in the previous series due to a bout of COVID-19. Assistant coach Mike Brown took over the Warriors and they went 2-1 against the Memphis Grizzlies under the Sacramento Kings’ soon-to-be head coach.
“It was great to be back,” said Kerr. “I missed being out there with the guys. Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we’re excited to keep going.”
The Warriors open Game 2, which takes place Friday night in San Francisco, as a -6.5 favorite.
With a 1-0 lead, the Warriors are now -450 odds to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals, according to DraftKings’ series markets. The Mavs slipped to +350 odds to win the series. After the Game 1 victory, the Warriors are now even money at +100 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship. The Mavs started the conference finals as a long shot, and are now +1000 odds to win the title.
Warriors: big D from Wiggins
Steph Curry led all scorers with 21 points and also led the Warriors with 12 rebounds. Jordan Poole scored 19 off the bench on an efficient 8-for-12 from the floor. Starting center Kevin Looney logged only 27 minutes, but he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor for 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, but it was his air-tight defense on Luka Doncic that put the Warriors over the top.
“I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”
The Warriors knew the trigger-happy Mavs would shoot a high volume of 3-pointers, especially if they played zone, but the Mavs struggled from long-range, shooting just 11-for-48 for 22.9%
“We didn’t shoot a great percentage of threes, but we knocked enough down to win big,” said Klay Thompson.
The Warriors only took 29 treys, but connected on 11 of them for a 34.5% success rate.
Mavs: another slow start
The Mavs lost Game 1 in the first two rounds, yet still advanced both times. In Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, the Mavs fell behind the Warriors by double digits in the first quarter and mustered up only 18 total points. They cut the lead to nine points heading into halftime, but couldn’t keep up with the Warriors when they began to pull away in the third quarter.
Everyone wondered who would guard Luka Doncic during this series. Wiggins got the tough assignment and he did a good job limiting Doncic to 20 points and 3-for-10 from 3-point range.
“They did a really good job (with) Wiggins picking him up full court,” said Mavs head coach Jason Kidd. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”
With Doncic held to just 20 points, the rest of the Mavs didn’t offer much support. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points off the bench, but Jalen Brunson scored only 14 points and whiffed on all five of his 3-point shots.
The Mavs missed 37 3-pointers, which was eight more than the Warriors attempted. When you live and die by the 3-point shot, it’s either feast or famine. In the case of the Mavs in Game 1, they were starving.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.