Choose your superstar: Steph Curry or Luka Doncic? Curry and the #3 Golden State Warriors are seeking a return to the NBA Finals after a two-season layoff due to injuries to the Splash Brothers, but Doncic and the #4 Dallas Mavericks are willing to play the role of postseason spoiler. The Warriors and Mavs will throw down in an exciting Western Conference finals, which begins tonight in San Francisco.
The Mavs overcame an 0-2 deficit to knock out the top-ranked Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals. The Warriors needed six games to pick off the #2 Memphis Grizzlies in the previous round.
|#3 Golden State Warriors (53-29) vs #4 Dallas Mavs (52-30)|
|2022 Western Conference Finals Series Odds|
|Golden State Warriors -225||Dallas Mavs +185|
|Warriors/Mavs Schedule (Best of 7)|
- Game 1: May 18 – Mavs at Warriors
- Game 2: May 20 – Mavs at Warriors
- Game 3: May 22 – Warriors at Mavs
- Game 4: May 24 – Warriors at Mavs
- Game 5: May 26 – Mavs at Warriors
- Game 6: May 28 – Warriors at Mavs
- Game 7: May 30 – Mavs at Warriors
The Warriors are the betting favorite to win the series at -225 odds. The Mavs are the underdog at +185.
Oddsmakers installed the Warriors as the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship at +135 odds. The Mavs are the long shot on DraftKings’ futures board at +550 odds. The Warriors opened Game 1 as a -5.5 favorite at home at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Warriors: Splash Brother return
It’s been a tough road back for the Warriors to reclaim their championship glory. After Kevin Durant left the team in free agency, the Warriors floundered. Both members of the Splash Brothers went down with injuries and the Warriors were the worst team in the NBA in 2020. Klay Thompson missed more than two seasons recovering from an ACL and Achilles injuries, and the Warriors didn’t qualify for the postseason in either of those seasons. With Thompson back in the lineup, the Splash Brothers are ready to make another run. They need only four more victories to lock up a spot in the NBA Finals, yet they’re still eight games away from raising a championship banner.
“I love the moments, and love the pressure,” said Thompson. “I love playing basketball at the highest level.”
Thompson saved his best performance for Game 6 of the Warriors/Grizzles series and reminded everyone why he has the “Game 6 Klay” moniker.
Curry — the favorite to win the 2022 NBA Finals MVP — leads the Warriors with 26.9 ppg this postseason, followed by Thompson at 20.4 ppg. Jordan Poole, the recently adopted third Splash Brother, averaged 19.3 ppg after an inconsistent first two rounds.
The Warriors defeated a young, up-and-coming Grizzlies squad, but now the Mavs stand in their way in the finals. The big question looms: how do the Warriors stop Doncic, and who will guard him?
“They’re obviously playing at a really high level,” said Curry. “They have a lot of guys that have shined this playoff run.”
Mavs: will anyone help Luka in the WCF?
Doncic averages 31.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.9 steals in the postseason. Let’s not forget, he missed the first two games of the opening round with a calf strain and was hampered by it during his first two games back. He really didn’t start to feel like his old self until Game 5 of the Mavs/Jazz series.
Doncic dominated during the Suns series, averaging 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game.
“He’s a really unique player and clearly one of the very best players in the league,” said Golden State head coach Steve Kerr. “I think the ability to shoot the step-back 3 and also get to the rim and pass the ball so well makes him a really difficult cover.”
Doncic figured out that he can’t shoulder the entire scoring burden. Hogging the ball resulted in two losses at the start of the Suns’ series. Doncic realized he needs to share the rock more. He also plugged the holes in his pick-and-roll defense. The Mavs turned the series around, winning four out of the next five games to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Some of the other role players on the Mavs, including Jalen Brunson (22.9 ppg), Spencer Dinwiddie (13.2 ppg), and Dorian Finney-Smith (11.6 ppg) now need to step up and help out with the scoring load.
Check out OG’s extensive coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.