The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals to take a 3-0 series lead, thanks in part to a huge game from Andrew Wiggins that included a massive dunk over Luka Doncic.
The Mavs trailed 0-2 after losing the first two games in San Francisco. They blew a chance to trim the deficit with a home game in Dallas, but lost Game 3 and fell into an 0-3 hole.
The Mavs opened as a -1 favorite in Game 4 on Tuesday night in Dallas, where they hope to save face and avoid a sweep.
The Warriors are just one game away from clinching a berth in the NBA Finals and are now -10000 odds to win the series. The Mavs are +3000 odds to pull off a ridiculous comeback to knock out the Warriors.
The Warriors improved to -155 odds as the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship. The Mavs are +6000 odds to win the title as the long shot on the futures board over at DraftKings.
Wiggins scored a career-best 27 points for the Warriors in Game 3, but it’s the dunk over Doncic that quickly made the rounds when it blew up on social media.
When Doncic finally saw the replay of the dunk, even he was in awe of Wiggins.
“That was impressive, I’m not going to lie,” said Doncic. “I saw the video again, and I was like, ooh. That was pretty incredible. I wish I had those bunnies.”
“Just feeling the energy,” said Wiggins about the dunk. “That’s the main thing when I seen the rim. That’s all I seen.”
“Reminded me of Dominque Wilkins,” said Klay Thompson about the dunk.
Wiggins did a stellar job defending Doncic. You might look at the box score and see that Doncic dropped 40 points and think otherwise. Doncic dominated everyone else who defended him, but Wiggins actually slowed him down. He also tired Doncic out and made him earn every bucket he made.
“That’s a guy who has been criticized for being lackadaisical and the beat goes on, you’ve heard it all, yet on the biggest stage, he’s come through,” said Draymond Green. “It’s great to see, absolutely amazing to see him pick up his level of play.”
“What he did tonight, that’s what we brought him on for,” said Steph Curry. “He is such a talented player. I’m so grateful we have him.”
Curry led the Warriors with 31 points, and his torrid outside shooting continued with five 3-pointers and a 50% success rate.
The Warriors are now just one win away from returning to the NBA Finals, and just five more victories away from a championship.
🚨 WIGGINS POSTER ALERT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/tjj7Q7PdPI
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 23, 2022
Mavs: awful shooting
The Mavs live and die by the 3-pointer. They shot 28.9% in Game 3 on 13-for-45. If you don’t count Doncic (4-for-9) and Spencer Dinwiddie (4-for-10), the rest of the Mavs shot 5-for-26 for 19.2%. Reggie Bullock (0-for-7), Maxi Kleber (0-for-5), and Davis Bertans (0-for-2) combined for 0-for-14 from downtown.
Doncic scored a team-high 40 points, including 21 points in the fourth quarter, in the nine-point loss. The Mavs are now 0-4 in the postseason whenever Doncic goes north of 40 points.
The mood after Game 3 seemed a bit funereal for the worn-down Mavs. They needed seven games to upset the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals and looked sluggish in both losses in San Francisco. The Mavs hoped playing Game 3 at home would revitalize everyone, yet the weary squad couldn’t match the Warriors’ energy and intensity.
“This is huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here,” head coach Jason Kidd told local beat reporters, which sounded more like what a coach would say after they lost the series. “You guys were all supposed to be on vacation.”
Kidd has a point. When they began the postseason with Doncic sidelined with a calf strain, not too many people gave them a chance to win the opening-round series against the Utah Jazz. Doncic missed the first two games, but the Mavs still dusted off the Jazz in six games. They also knocked out the Suns in the next round, who were the best team in the NBA this season. But when your team runs out of gas, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.