By Gabriel Obiti
The Dallas Mavericks, riding on the high of eliminating the No.1 seed Phoenix Suns in Game 7 in Phoenix, were brought crashing back to Earth by the Golden State Warriors in their first Western Conference Finals since 2011.
In the first game of the best of seven series, the Warriors ran out 112-87 winners behind the great defense, as they held the Mavericks to 36% shooting from the field with Luka Doncic scoring 20 points in the game.
Their defensive efforts were spearheaded by first-time All-Star starter Andrew Wiggins who picked up Doncic full court and was the primary defender on the superstar. Golden State walled off the paint on drives to the basket, leading Dallas to take 48 threes with 46 classified as open or wide open and hit on 11 (22%) of them on what was a terrible game on both ends of the floor.
Luka Doncic had more turnovers (7) than made field goals (4) for the first time in his 24-game stellar playoff career. This included 2 points and 6 turnovers in the second half of the game.
Golden State Warriors in their return to the conference finals for the 6th time in 8 seasons after 5 consecutive appearances from 2015 to 2019, were led by Steph Curry with 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Talking about Doncic, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team wanted “to try and make him work” by throwing in different looks in order “to limit the damage” that he does.
On his part, Mavs coach Jason Kidd acknowledged the Warriors’ great defense and said his star guard “understands what they’re trying to do, and he’ll be better”.
Dallas Mavericks will need to make adjustments before game 2, something they’ve done twice in the playoffs already having lost the first game in the two previous series they’ve played.
Game 2 is in the Golden Warriors Chase Center, San Francisco at 2:00 am (WAT)