The Dallas Mavericks are down in the series against the Golden State Warriors and they have a lot of work to do if they want to win the Western Conference Finals and make their way to the NBA Finals.
Dallas needs to win, but how can they do it? The Warriors have the highest offensive efficiency out of the remaining playoff teams, and it has been shown thus far in the series. Combine that with a defense that is often slept on, Golden State may be the favorites to win a title.
There is no arguing this; the Golden State Warriors are the better team on paper, but anything can happen during the NBA Playoffs. Dallas might need a miracle of their own to send home the star-studded Warriors.
Defense is the Answer
The defense will be the saving grace for Dallas if they are able to surmount a comeback. In the two losses in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors averaged 98 points. Through two games this series, Dallas has allowed 112 and 126 points.
If Dallas wants to stand a chance, they need to hold the Warriors to under 110 points.
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd needs to mix up his defenses and force the ball inside. That is easier said than done against this high-powered offense, but they do not have many other options.
Dallas ranks last out of the remaining teams in defensive efficiency, but something has to change.
While giving a sports news interview, Luka Doncic said: “It’s the Warriors. They have a great team. They’re a championship team. We’ve got to adjust our defense.”
When thinking about the Mavericks making a potential comeback, all eyes go to the 23-year-old from Slovenia, Luka Doncic.
In game 2, Doncic put up an unbelievable statline of 42 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals, yet Dallas still lost the game. Part of that is the Warriors coming back from a 19 point deficit, and part of that is Max Kleber having a +/- of -20.
Doncic needs to score at least 30 points if the Mavericks want to have a chance. Jalen Brunson is scoring well and Reggie Bullock is playing well on both sides of the ball, but Doncic cannot do it all for this team.
On top of Doncic needing to score at least 30 points, the bench scoring needs to step up as well. In game 2, Dallas’ bench only scored 13 points. That will not win you an NBA Playoff game, even when your superstar scores 42 points.
Stop relying on the three
Through two games in the WCF, the Dallas Mavericks have shot 93 three-pointers. That is not a typo. They have shot 93 threes.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr wants the Mavericks to shoot, and they are falling for the bait. Throughout the series they have played a lot of zone defense, forcing shots from outside and we should expect to see a lot more zone from Kerr.
On the other hand, Golden State’s interior defense has been impeccable. In game two as the primary defender, Kevon Looney held the Mavericks to 1-11 shooting and just 6 points. In game one, Draymond Green as the primary defender held them to 4-15 shooting and 0-9 from behind the arc.
With that being said, it sounds like there is no answer for the Dallas offense, but there is still hope. They need to shoot far fewer threes and crash the paint. Get the Warriors bigs in foul trouble and good things will happen.
Do the Mavericks Even Have a Chance?
Well, anything is possible, but the Dallas Mavericks might need a miracle to win this series. They won the Western Conference Semifinals against the No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns after being down 2-0, and they look to do that yet again.
The good thing for the Mavs is that they are finally away from one of the hardest arenas for opponents to play in, the Chase Center, and they have the Dallas faithful to cheer them on at home. Home-court advantage is a real thing, and it can easily pay dividends at the American Airlines Center.
An angry Luka Doncic is a scary sight. The Mavericks need a lot to go their way but do not count out a comeback.