On Sunday evening, the Golden State Warriors took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a road win over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. With no team ever erasing a 3-0 deficit in an NBA playoff series, the Mavericks face an exceptionally difficult task to turn the tide. But in Game 4 on Tuesday, Dallas struck the first blow necessary to close the gap. The Mavericks rode a hot three-point shooting night to a sizable lead for the majority of the night, eventually winning by a 119-109 final margin to send the series back to San Francisco.
Dallas enjoyed a solid start in the first quarter, though neither team dominated the early proceedings. The Mavericks built a 28-24 lead after 12 minutes, making seven three-pointers with four players scoring at least six points. On the other end, the Warriors scuffled to just 38 percent shooting, though Golden State committed only one turnover to minimize the overall damage.
Golden State threatened early in the second quarter, briefly taking the lead, but it was all Dallas from there until halftime. The Mavericks used a 19-2 run to take a double-digit advantage, and the Warriors scored only two points in more than five minutes of game action.
Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the first half, holding a 15-point edge at the half. The biggest swing came from beyond the arc, with the Mavericks making 11 triples in the first half and the Warriors shooting only 3-of-16 from long distance. Dallas also generated 14 assists compared to only three turnovers, winning on the margins.
Though the second half was delayed by a leaky roof, Dallas was not deterred. The Mavericks opened the third quarter on a 10-3 run, taking the team’s largest lead to that point at 72-50.
After 33 minutes of action, the result was virtually assured. Dallas had a 28-point advantage with 19 (!) three-pointers, and every member of the Mavericks rotation (sans Dwight Powell) converted at least one long-range attempt.
The extremely odd nature of the evening also continued during the Mavs’ marrage when Draymond Green attempted a free throw and, well, it got stuck on the rim.
By the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks led 99-70 and Steve Kerr pulled the plug in removing his starters. That seemingly set the stage for extended garbage time in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors weren’t quite done yet as they attempted to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 29-point fourth quarter deficit.
Golden State’s bench-heavy unit keyed a 15-2 run to begin the fourth quarter, slashing the margin to 16 fairly quickly. Then, with the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green still on the bench, the Warriors pulled it within eight after a Jonathan Kuminga three-pointer with 3:23 to play.
That was enough to prompt Kerr to bring Curry back onto the floor following a Dallas timeout, further heightening the tense situation. Almost on cue, however, Doncic picked up a dunk on the first play after the stoppage and, following a charge on the other end, the Mavericks created a Reggie Bullock three-pointer that helped to maintain a bit of safety for the home team. Golden State kept fighting, bringing Thompson and Andrew Wiggins back into the game, but Dallas managed to hold on for the 10-point victory.
All in all, it was an offense-focused victory for Dallas, headlined by three-point shooting. The Mavericks shot 20-of-43 from long distance, out-scoring the Warriors by 30 points from beyond the arc. Dallas also shot 50 percent from the floor overall and, with their trade ball security and only eight turnovers, it was a very strong and efficiency offensive effort. Individually, six members of the Mavericks scored in double figures, headlined by 30 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists from Doncic.
Though the final margin was closer than the game flow indicated, the Mavericks can take solace in picking up an impressive victory at home and lengthening the series. Dallas still faces an immense challenge ahead of Game 5 in San Francisco on Thursday, but at the very least, the Warriors will have to suit up and play at home, rather than simply enjoying an extended break before the 2022 NBA Finals.