The Golden State Warriors brought the defensive energy in Game 1 of their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Behind the defense of Andrew Wiggins, Golden State held Luka Doncic to 20 points on 6/18 shooting from the floor, including 3/10 from deep. The Mavericks shot only 36% from the field, including 22% from downtown, and they fell to the Warriors 112-87 at Chase Center Wednesday night.
Game 2 is Friday night at Chase Center.
Golden State led by as many as 30 points and had seven guys in double figures, led by Steph Curry’s game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Warriors are second in opponents’ field goal percentage(43%) in the playoffs, so you knew they would not make it easy for Doncic and the Mavs.
“Just make him work, that was the main thing, 94 feet, just make him work, pick him up, make everything tough for him,” Wiggins, who added 19 points, said about guarding Doncic after the win. “He’s a good player, great player, so he’s going to make shots. He’s going to do his thing but just stay on him, make it tough.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added on Wiggins’ defense against Doncic: “I thought Wiggs was fantastic. Doncic is as difficult a cover as there in this league, and we just asked Wiggs to try to hound him and guard him as best as he could, stay in front, and try to keep the pressure on him, and he did a fantastic job. Wiggs is just a huge part of our defense and our team. I thought he was great offensively as well. So great night for Andrew.
Doncic agreed with Kerr and felt the Warriors played well against him on the defensive end, but according to Doncic, he has to be better.
“Yeah, they were doing a great job on me, especially in the second half,’ Doncic said. “But I think I’ve got to be better. That’s on me. As a leader, I’ve got to be better for the whole group, so that’s on me.”
The Mavericks have been in this position before. Dallas lost Game 1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs and trailed 2-0 to the Suns in the second round of the playoffs, so there’s no panic with this team. As he walked off the court at the end of the game, Doncic had a smile on his face.
“Like I say, I said in the Phoenix series, we’re going to believe,” he said. “So the confidence is the same. It’s tough to win every game, so some you’re going to lose. But the confidence stays the same”
Dallas could not make shots, but their head coach Jason Kidd was happy with his team’s looks and is confident they could make those shots in Game 2.
“There were a lot of great looks that just didn’t go down,” Kidd said. “It happens. It’s basketball. Hopefully, we get those same looks in Game 2, and we believe we’ll make them.”
Obviously, this series is far from over, and great players like Doncic find ways. The Mavs have to throw this one away, make adjustments, and get ready for Game 2.