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Mavericks Avoid Sweep With Win Over Warriors


Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic | Image by Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports

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The Dallas Mavericks beat the Golden State Warriors 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. The Mavericks’ win trims their series deficit to 3-1 and forces a Game 5 Thursday night in San Francisco.

Luka Doncic led Dallas in scoring with 30 points while adding 14 rebounds and nine assists. It is the 10th double-double for Doncic in 14 games this postseason.

Six total Mavericks scored in the double digits as the team found consistency from the three-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting. After going 0-of-10 from the field in Game 3, Reggie Bullock bounced back to add 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Jalen Brunson added 15 points, and Maxi Kleber, who was 2-of-14 shooting in the first three games, made 5-of-6 shot attempts for 13 points on Tuesday. Spencer Dinwiddie added 10 points and eight assists off the bench.

Dallas made sure their first three-game losing streak since early December did not extend to four games. The win also ensured the franchise avoided just its second-ever playoff sweep in its history. The first came in the 2012 first round to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks also improved to 3-0 when facing elimination this postseason.

“I still believe we can win, you know,” Doncic said. “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 [are] going to believe until the end.”

The game was already set to be an emotional and tense contest, with the Mavericks facing what could have been their last game together this season. Golden State was just one victory away from their sixth berth in the NBA Finals in the previous eight seasons and securing more than a week of rest with the Finals set to begin on June 2.

News of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, added to the emotions. Both head coaches spoke about the tragedy during pregame press conferences. Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr, whose father was murdered by two gunmen, was incensed at the lack of action from U.S. senators.

Before the game, the public address announcer’s voice trembled with sadness as he led a moment of silence.

The Mavericks were able to keep their poise and focus to open a 28-24 lead after the first quarter. The Warriors took a 31-29 lead early in the second quarter but then made just one basket over the next seven minutes, as Dallas embarked on a 25-6 run to take a comfortable lead. The Mavericks led 62-47 at halftime and made 11-of-23 three-point attempts in the first half.

Dallas knew they could not take their foot off the gas pedal, as Golden State had already come back from a double-digit halftime deficit to win Game 2. The Warriors had also dominated the third quarter of this series, winning the quarter by 10, 12, and nine points, respectively, in the first three games.

However, a leak in the American Airlines Center’s roof delayed the start of the third quarter for 16 minutes. Arena workers used multiple towels to dry an area in front of the Warriors’ bench while other workers worked near the ceiling to stop the leak. This was the 21-year-old AAC’s second roof leak this season, after the start of a March 21 game against Minnesota was delayed 15 minutes.

Players continued warming up until the game resumed. Luckily the delay did not cool the Mavericks down, and they were able to stop Golden State’s third-quarter dominance.

Dallas dominated the third period and had a 29-point lead (99-70) by the quarter’s end. Kerr pulled all of the Warriors starters out of the game, except for Stephen Curry, with 2:50 remaining in the third, signaling that they were conceding defeat.

However, Golden State’s lineup of reserves had other plans besides just rolling over and letting the Mavericks coast to victory. The Warriors’ reserve lineup of Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Nemanja Bjelica, and rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody cut the Dallas lead to eight points (110-102) with 3:23 remaining.

Dallas called timeout, and Kerr reinserted some of his starters, including Curry, who finished with 20 points, but they did not get closer to the lead than eight points the rest of the game.

Doncic returned to the court as well and had a dunk out of the timeout. Then Bullock hit his sixth three on their ensuing possession, the double-digit lead was restored, and Dallas survived the Warriors’ 39-20 fourth-quarter onslaught.

“Everybody in that locker room felt like we had more basketball to play,” Finney-Smith said. “We played desperate.”

The Mavericks finished 20-of-43 from three-point range in the game. They will look to continue their trek to becoming the first team ever to overcome an 0-3 series deficit to win a playoff series on Thursday night in San Francisco.

Only three of the 146 teams to fall in the 3-0 series deficit have even been able to force a winner-take-all seventh game.

“It’s not just about one game,” Kidd said. “It’s about the journey. It’s about bouncing back.”

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