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Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors: Conference finals Game 2 predictions

The Warriors dominated the Mavericks in Game 1 and Dallas couldn’t seem to get any momentum. They’ll have to change their strategy going into Game 2.

Jennifer Bubel

The Mavericks will have to make some major strategic changes going into Game 2 against the Warriors on Friday. Golden State dominated Dallas to win 112-87 and managed to hold Mavs superstar Luka Doncic to just 20 points on just 6 for 18 shooting and 3 of 10 from deep.

“We knew what was going to come, we didn’t make shots,” said Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd. “Again, he [Doncic] got in the paint and created some open looks for guys who normally make them. They just didn’t go down this evening.”

The Warriors did a good job holding off Doncic, but the rest of the Mavs team did little to contribute as well. Jalen Brunson scored 14 points and missed all five of his three-point attempts. If the Mavericks want any hope of avoiding another blowout in Game 2, they will need to rethink their strategy.

Can the Mavs even the series before heading to Dallas?

The Mavericks went 3-1 over the Warriors in the regular season, with Doncic averaging a line of 31.5-5-5.5, so they’ve shown they are capable of defeating this team. They looked sloppy and tired in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, but it’s likely they’ll come into Game 2 more aggressive. We saw in their series win over the No. 1 Suns that the Mavs tend to learn quickly from their mistakes.

The Mavericks team we’ve seen predominantly in the playoffs was simply not represented in Game 1 against the Warriors, when they shot a measly 36% from the floor overall and 23% from three. We’re used to seeing a much more dominant team. In the 14 playoff games before this one, the Mavs were shooting 45% from the floor and 37% from deep. I would expect to see more of that in Game 2 rather than the unusually tired-looking team from Game 1.

The Warriors offense was on point in Game 1, making over 56% of their field goals. Their key players were productive - Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins combined for 13-for-22 and Otto Porter made five-of-seven from the bench. Kidd has proven his ability to tweak strategies and will have to make some major adjustments to the Dallas D to keep up.

Doncic will make adjustments too and I expect him to make more of his shots and get more open looks to his teammates as well, now that he’s seen how the Warriors work to slow him down.

“Well, he’s only 23, and we don’t really talk about his age,” said Kidd. “But he understands what they’re trying to do, and he’ll be better.”

The Mavericks are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the playoffs and I expect we’ll see that success from them in Game 2. The performance we saw in Game 1 is concerning, but not indicative of this Dallas team as a whole. After having another day to rest, the Mavs will come back stronger and smarter.


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