Inspired from stellar play from Kevin Looney on both ends of the court, the Golden State Warriors rallied back from a 19-point deficit to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and the Mavs now find themselves down 0-2.
The series shifts to Dallas for the next two games. In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Mavs found themselves down 0-2 against the Phoenix Suns and then won four out of the next five games to knock out the Suns.
Oddsmaker installed the Mavs as -2 favorites in Game 3, but the line moved a half-point over night to -2.5
With a 2-0 lead and huge win in Game 2, the Warriors improved to -800 odds to win the series and conference championship. The Mavs are +550 to pull off another series comeback after falling into an 0-2 hole after their Game 2 implosion. At least it wasn’t an unwatchable blowout.
The Warriors are -115 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship as the consensus favorite. The Mavs are the long shot on the futures board at DraftKings at +1800 odds.
Stoic Second Half, 2-Way Looney
The key to winning any big playoff game is to have a role player step up with a huge game. In Game 2, Looney took his turn in the spotlight with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors on 10-for-14 shooting. However, Looney excelled on defense which helped the Warriors successfully launch a second-half comeback in Game 2. The Mavs tried to exploit defensive switches with Looney on smaller players like Doncic, Brunson, and Dinwiddie. However, Doncic missed all three shots when Looney covered him.
“Kind of tough having to guard those guys,” said Looney. “I did a good job tonight. It’s going to be a long series, so I got to keep it up because those guys are going to keep coming.”
The Warriors fell behind as many as 19 points in Game 2 because the Mavs could not miss a shot, especially from 3-point range. They allowed 72 points an trailed by 14 points at halftime, but head coach Steve Kerr did not panic.
“If we developed some poise in the second half, the game would come to us,” Kerr said. “We were so scattered in the first half, emotionally more so than anything. Dallas came out and just punched us.”
The Warriors held the Mavs to just 13 points in the third quarter. They finally took the lead in the fourth quarter and never looked back.
“It’s just the supreme confidence in what we do,” said Curry. “We have that attitude and that spirit where we feel like we are never out of it. That belief then turns into execution in the game, and you can feel the momentum.”
Curry led the Warriors with 32 points and six 3-pointers. Jordan Poole added 23 points off the bench. The Warriors connected on 14-for-28 from 3-point range for 50%.
Mavs: Hot and Cold
The Mavs stormed out of the gate red-hot and their gunslingers helped build a 19-point lead. The Mavs knocked down 15 3-pointers in the first half, but hit just six in the second half. Pick your cliche. In this instance, the Mavs “went to the well once too often” in the third quarter.
“When you go 2-for-13 and you rely on the 3, you can die by the 3,” said head coach Jason Kidd. “And we died in the third quarter by shooting that many 3s and coming up with only two.”
The Mavs were 11-for-48 from downtown in Game 1. In Game 2, the Mavs hit 15 treys in the first half and torched the Warriors for 72 points. However, the Mavs went ice cold in the third quarter and coughed up a double-digit lead. The Mavs tried to shoot their way out of their cold streak, but Kidd wanted them to attack the paint.
The starters hit 19 treys, but the ineffective bench combined 2-for-12 from deep.
“We play defense when we play offense, and we play no defense when we can’t score,” said Kidd echoing Yogi Berra. “That’s something that we have to get better at this time of the year.”
Doncic wasted a 42-point effort, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Jalen Brunson also had a sensational night with 31 points. He was one of the few hot shooters with a 5-for-7 clip from beyond the arc. Reggie Bullock added 21 points and six 3-pointers in the loss.
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