Without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, Warriors overpowered by Mavericks - Sport News

Without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, Warriors overpowered by Mavericks

The Warriors cooled off a red-hot Luka Doncic and enjoyed a horrendous Mavericks 3-point shooting night, but didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with the formidable Mavs in the American Airlines Center.

Doncic, who entered the game averaging 35.8 points, 11.2 assists and 11.0 rebounds in March, registered 21 points and nine rebounds. Dallas shot 6-for-27 (22.2%) from 3, but made up for it by racking up 68 points in the paint.

Golden State was without Steph Curry (ankle sprain) and Draymond Green, who was a late scratch with low back soreness. Their absences left the scoring burden on Jonathan Kuminga (game-high 27 points) and a void of physicality on both ends that Dallas took full advantage of. Center Daniel Gafford tallied seven of Dallas’ 13 blocks, looming as a constant deterrent at the rim.

“Our defense was not the problem,” Steve Kerr said postgame. “It was much more our offense. They had 13 blocked shots, a lot of that was just us wildly driving in at Gafford without getting a body into him first to take him out of his shot-blocking position. And then just a lot of stagnant possessions. Not enough flow, not enough movement.”

The 109-99 loss could have big implications down the road for the Warriors (34-31), who trail Dallas in the Western Conference play-in standings. The two teams have two more matchups remaining this season, games that could end up determining crucial seeding.

The Warriors played Dallas tough early, unexpectedly drawing the first quarter. Without Curry and Green, Golden State was a heavy underdog. But Kuminga was decisive offensively, dropping 10 in the first frame by consistently attacking. The wing needed only nine minutes to reach double figures for the 43rd time in his past 45 games.

In the first half, Kuminga went 6-for-10. His teammates shot 10-for-33.

The biggest reason Golden State was able to hang in the low-scoring game, though, was Dallas’ shooting struggles. The Mavericks hit only one of their first 17 attempts from behind the arc.

As the Mavericks struggled from the outside, both they and the Warriors traded dueling 13-2 runs in the second quarter. When Dallas threatened to run away with it, Kuminga and Trayce Jackson-Davis made key plays.

Dallas’ size at every position gave Golden State issues all night. The Mavericks scored 40 of their first 54 points in the paint. Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively each swatted several shots at the rim into the stands.

Golden State kept Luka Doncic in check for the first half, a nearly impossible feat. By throwing a variety of on-ball defenders at him, staying disciplined on his pump fakes and loading up on the weak side for help in the lane, the Warriors forced Doncic to start 5-for-15.

The Warriors ended Doncic’s streak of seven straight triple-doubles, six of which he’d scored at least 30 points in.

In the third, Doncic started figuring the Warriors out. He scored an and-1 in the post through Brandin Podziemski, then drilled a step-back 3. Yet Golden State withstood, entering the fourth facing a six-point deficit.

Doncic started the fourth quarter on the bench, giving the Warriors an opportunity to make a run. Instead, Dallas shut Golden State down, blitzing them for a 16-4 haymaker.

“We just didn’t cut the water off,” Kuminga said. “I feel like that’s where we lost the game, they just came out hot.”

Like it did all game for Dallas, just about everything came inside — both from their bigs and a slashing Kyrie Irving (23 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds). Dallas shot 34-for-45 in the paint and limited Golden State to 24-of-50 from the same range, exhibiting force inside.

“Just kind of got away from us,” Podziemski said. “Just not getting back in transition, a lot of their buckets were in transition. Whether it was hitting 3s or throwing the ball to Lively or Gafford at the rim and dunking it.”

The Mavericks built such a comfortable lead, they didn’t even need Doncic in the fourth quarter. At one point, he walked towards the scorer’s table to check in, but the team later said he was experiencing hamstring soreness.

They still got 29 minutes from their superstar, compared to Golden State’s zero.

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