It is officially conference finals season as we are down to four teams left competing for the 2022 NBA Championship. On Wednesday night in the Western Conference, we had one game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks were coming off of a huge road win over the Suns in Game 7 on Sunday, and the Warriors had been off since Friday as they took care of the Grizzlies in six games in the second round of the playoffs. There was tons of anticipation leading up to the start of this series, but did Game 1 lead up to the hype?
The short answer is no. The Warriors controlled this one from start to finish, leading by as much as 30 at one point, as they cruised to a 112-87 win over the Mavericks in Game 1 from the Chase Center. The warriors had seven different players score in double figures, led by Stephen Curry, who scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to go with four assists, three triples, one block, and one steal in 31 minutes. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole each scored 19 points apiece on eight made field goals. Wiggins shot 8-of-17 from the floor (3-of-8 3-pointers) to go with five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block while Poole shot an efficient 8-of-12 from the floor (1-of-4 3-pointers) to go with three assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one turnover. Klay Thompson added 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists with two blocks, while Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and Otto Porter Jr. all scored 10 points apiece.
Green was also a menace on the defensive end as he held Mavericks players to 4-of-15 shooting from the floor (0-of-9 3-pointers) as the primary defender. The 0-of-9 mark is tied for the 3rd-most misses against a single defender from three since ESPN began tracking playoff games back in 2013-2024. Golden State was specifically great slowing down Mavericks star Luka Dončić. Wednesday marked the first time in Doncic’s playoff career (24 games) that he had had more turnovers (7) than made field goals (6) in the game. Dallas also became just the sixth team in NBA History with three 20-point wins and three 20-point losses in a single postseason. None of the five previous teams won the championship, so needless to say, this does not bode well for Dallas.
Doncic finished with 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting (3-of-10 3-pointers) to go with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and seven turnovers in 35 minutes. Jalen Brunson struggled as well, going 6-of-16 from the floor (0-of-5 3-pointers) with four assists, four rebounds, and one steal in 32 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie had a decent game off the bench, scoring 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting (3-of-7 3-pointers) to go with two assists, one rebound, and one turnover in 24 minutes. Dallas likely had some fatigue from their dog fight with Phoenix in the last round, so they get a slight pass for their lifelessness in Game 1. They will try to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole for the second consecutive series on Friday night in The Bay.
News & Notes
We will have a Game 2 in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night as the Celtics try to even the series with Miami. They will likely be without Al Horford for the second straight game as he has yet to clear the league’s health and safety protocols, and at the moment it doesn’t look like that will change prior to tip-off. This mean’s that Grant Williams will likely get another start for Boston alongside Robert Williams, who made his return to the lineup in Game 1 on Tuesday. It looks like the Celtics will get Marcus Smart (right mid-foot sprain) back in the lineup for Game 2 after he did not play in Tuesday’s loss. Getting the Defensive Player of the Year back in the lineup will be key as the Celtics will have to be better guarding Jimmy Butler after he hung 41 on Boston in Game 1.
In other Eastern Conference News, Sixers guard Danny Green (ACL Surgery) says that he expects to return by the All-Star break this coming season. “I will be back for [the] All-Star break. You got to believe it. You heard it here first. So I will work my tail off to rehab to get back healthy.” Green said. “[M]y body and my bones usually heal pretty well. I don’t have any bad habits. So, yeah, I think I’ll be back in time to help a team in the playoff run and show and prove that I’m able to still play at that level to help a team get a win in the playoffs.” This is all of course dependent upon a team being willing to pay him, which is not a guarantee as the Sixers have yet to pick up his team option for next season. If they choose not to, he will become a free agent, and if he enters the season without a deal, it could be tough to land a deal with a team. Either way, it goes, we will have updates on the situation as it comes in.
The last bit of news comes from out West, where Phoenix Suns general manager, James Jones, said that keep the core of their team around for next season. This of course would imply that Deandre Ayton would be a part of the future plans despite the rocky end of the season. Of course, this would be contingent on the idea that Ayton wants to be back in Phoenix, and if he does there is a chance that a deal could get done. We are still a ways from that happening though, so be sure to follow along as we update the situation in the coming weeks.
It’s worth mentioning that both Gabe Vincent and Max Strus are listed as questionable on Miami’s injury report, but both will play barring something unforeseen as they have for the entirety of the postseason, despite being listed as questionable every single game thus far. So get the popcorn ready, gather up the family, and get ready for some good basketball on Thursday night.