4 things to watch out for in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

Facing a potential 3-0 deficit, Dallas must engage more players on offense and continue to attack the rim.

Warriors-Mavericks Series Coverage Complete

Dallas — The Dallas Mavericks took a day off to regroup on Saturday after losing 2-0 in their second round of this postseason as Golden State won 126-117 in Game 2 at the Chase Center on Friday night.

As the series moves to the American Airlines Center for games 3 and 4, the Mavericks seek to reclaim the magic they evoked in the Western Conference semifinals against top seed the Phoenix Suns.

Dallas cast their first spell on the home floor.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock said. “When I go home, I have the best fans in the world. They will support us. They will give us a lot of energy. We have to get two guys from home to compete for Game 5 and go there with a great mindset to go back to San Francisco.”

Here are four things to watch out for on Sunday, Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

1. Dallas Déjà vu

We’ve seen it before in the conference semifinals. Dallas fell 2-0 to the Phoenix Suns. Mavericks manager Jason Kidd remains sober and calmly repeats the idea that his young team is essentially playing with house prices.

But this time, Dallas will face a team of experienced Warriors who want to reclaim their place among the league’s elite.

“We’re competing against one of the best teams in the league,” Kidd said on Friday after his team lost the second leg. “I got a serve.”

Kidd said exactly the last three words when the Mavs were behind the Suns in the previous round. Then, the club won four of the next five games to knock out Phoenix on the home court. Dallas pounded the Suns with various adjustments to Chris Paul and Devin Booker, tiring their favorites as the series progressed.

Can the Mavs do the same against a team led by three players, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who have won three titles together?

“Now we have to go back and understand what’s at stake and prepare for Game 3,” Kidd said. “We have to protect the house.”

For the most part, Dallas performed well in the 2021-22 season, not only having a 5-1 home record in the playoffs, but also a 29-12 regular season record at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks haven’t progressed so far since the 2011 championship season. That’s probably why you can feel so much energy from the fans in the arena as the blue lights start flashing, techno music pumps through the sound system and rattles the walls of the American stadium. aviation center.

Bullock is definitely doing something when discussing Dallas’ home crowd.

Ultimate Preview: Western Conference Finals will go to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.

2. 4 Quarter Curry

You’ve heard quite a bit about Golden State’s third quarter in Game 2, but don’t sleep on how Curry and the Warriors wrap up the game.

Let’s focus on the damage Curry inflicted in the fourth quarter. But before we get there, let’s start with the whole warrior first. Since the NBA ended the 24-hour 24-minute era (1954-55), Golden State has consolidated four postseason games that have scored more than 40 points in the last frame, and Friday’s 43 runs played a sole role in Game 4. . latest example. Already twice in this year’s playoffs, the Warriors started off with a Game 3 win over Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semi-finals, accumulating over 40 points in Game 4, and replicated this feat with Friday’s game against the Mavericks.

Since 1954-55, Golden State has a 3-1 record when scoring 40 or more points in the fourth quarter.

Credit Curry, which served as a catalyst for the way Warriors lead the trend late.

Curry, along with Za Morant (8.4 points), Chris Paul (7.9 points), Jason Tatum (7.6 points) and Jimmy Butler (7.3 points), averaged 9.4 points in the fourth quarter of the Saturday Eastern Conference Finals matchup playoffs between Boston and Miami. recorded ) all trailing.

Check out the small table below how influential Curry was in the fourth quarter of the 2022 NBA playoffs compared to the first three quarters.

Curry’s first third quarter vs. 2022 playoffs. 4 quarters

first 3 quarters Q4
points per quarter 6.2 9.4
FG% .424 .538
3PT% .337 .419
FT% .745 .893

3. Curry could set a milestone in Dallas.

Curry joined his 46.One He tied for 11th with future Hall of Fame Dirk Nowitzki, scoring 30 or more points in Game 2 of his career postseason.One always. Considering the Warriors guard’s tears, Curry could pass Dallas’ Nowitzki, the latter could attend either of the following two games.

The 33-year-old has dropped more than 30 points in six of their 13 playoff games so far and is averaging 26.5 points, 10 rebounds, 48.6 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from three-pointers this series.

4. Attacking the paint is key.

Golden State has scored more than 60 points in the paint division in five postseason competitions over the past 25 years (three in this year’s playoffs) and has played with W in four of those outings, including Friday when they overpowered the Mavericks 62-30. I left my seat. in that area.

Kidd said after Game 2 that the Warriors overpowered the Mavs 25-13, narrowing their 17-point lead to 9, and died by a 3-point lead after linking them to 2 of 13 in the third quarter. Finished with 43 points.

“We relied too much on three things,” Doncic said. “We have to attack the paint more like they did. They attack the paint a lot. They have two of the best shooters in the world and they are still attacking the paint. “

Interestingly, Mavericks stagnated in the third quarter after connecting 15 pointers, a franchise best in the first half.

If Doncic and Jalen Brunson can successfully follow the Golden State in paint consistently in Game 3, they give solid shooters like Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber more kickout opportunities around. Warriors regularly find snipers in a similar way. But you should also give Golden State’s big Kevon Rooney a boost for a career-high 21-point night and game-high 12 rebounds in dominating the paint.

“He’s incredibly underrated by everyone,” said Warriors manager Steve Kerr.

I believe Dallas will never overlook him again.

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Michael C. Wright is a Senior Writer at NBA.com. you can email him Herefind his archives Here and follow him Twitter.

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