NBA: Dallas saved from the waters, closes the gap against Golden State

Jonny Hector

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Saved from the waters, despite leaks from the roof of their room, the Mavericks, thanks to a big collective effort around Luka Doncic and an address found at three points, won (119-109) a first victory against the Warriors, Tuesday in the NBA playoffs.

NBA Playoffs

With their backs to the wall, Dallas was required to win to avoid a sweep in this Western Conference Finals. It’s done, and rather well done, because, apart from a burst in the last quarter, Golden State did not really exist in this game N.4, for which it certainly had the right to the misstep.

The Texas team led 3-1, its mission “up” is nevertheless impossible in view of history, because never a team beaten in the first three games has managed to win the last four of a series in the NBA playoffs. But she will sell her skin dearly Thursday in California, having in mind her ability to beat the predictions, as in the game N.7 won in Phoenix in the previous round (4-3).

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“We know it will only be one game at a time. We found a way to win tonight. It will have to be done on the go. We know that in Golden State, it’s hard to win, but we’ve already won there (in the regular season, editor’s note). We just have to keep taking care of the ball, making good shots,” coach Jason Kidd said.

After the three defeats conceded at the beginning of the series, Dallas star Luka Doncic had alternately called on his teammates to weigh more in attack, to defend better too. He was heard and congratulated: “Our defense was incredible today. When we play like that, we are a dangerous team. It’s going to be hard, we know it, but we have to stay together.”

With 11 winning baskets out of 23 attempted in the first period, the Mavs widened the gap at the break (62-47). And their lead peaked at 29 in the third quarter — started a quarter of an hour late due to a water leak from the ceiling of the room — during which the Warriors usually pick up the pace, either to bend the deal or to reverse compromised situations, such as in Game 2 after Dallas led by 19 points.

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No “miracle” this time, in the words of Steve Kerr, for whom “Dallas deserved to win”, even if the substitutes (51 points in total) he threw in the last quarter, came back to -8 points with more than three minutes to go, before Doncic took matters into his own hands.

Imperial (30 pts, 14 rbds, 9 passes, 2 interceptions, 2 blocks), the Slovenian prodigy first went for dunker, before insisting inside, to offer caviars to Reggie Bullock (18 pts), author of the 20th and last banderilla of the match behind the arc (out of 43), and to Dorian Finney-Smith (23 pts, 6 rbds) in the racket, then finish the job at free throws.

The soloist has thus become a conductor, impeccable in the score, and his musicians have not made a false note, as evidenced by this 50% overall success in the shooting. Jalen Brunson contributed 15 points (5 assists) and the substitutes also contributed, like Maxi Kleber (13 pts, 8 rbds) and Frenchman Frank Ntilikina (5 pts, 1 assist, 1 interception), very active in defense.

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Opposite, certainly without demerit, Stephen Curry (20 pts at 7/16, 8 assists), Andrew Wiggins (13 pts), and Klay Thompson (12 pts) have never given the impression of being able to force things in their favor, as if they agreed somewhere to lose this round and kept under the sole for Game 5 Thursday at home in San Francisco.

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