The Warriors look to earn extra rest with a sweep of the Mavericks
With no team ever having comeback from 3-0 down the Warriors look set to go to the NBA Finals in four games. Join us for a look at what that means.
The Warriors are sitting pretty in the Western Conference final series against the Mavericks, but are there other benefits - aside from bragging rights - when one team completes a sweep of another?
The Warriors are heading to the NBA Finals, probably
At 3-0 up in their Western Conference Final series with the Dallas Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors are all but assured a spot in the 2022 NBA Finals. Of course it’s never good to look past your next game, but given that no team in NBA history has ever overturned a 3-0 deficit it’s highly likely that the Warriors will be playing in their sixth NBA Finals in the last eight seasons. Think about that. It should also be said that this isn’t just about statistics and history, it’s also about the way the Warriors are playing. Their 109-100 win over the Mavs on Sunday night was yet another example of the ruthless offense that they showcased during the post season. Try as he might, Mavs’ star Luka Doncic just couldn’t quite get the better of a Golden State team that took his punch and then delivered a knock out blow.
Admiration aside, there are some who will point to 2016, when Golden State infamously conceded a 3-1 lead in the Finals against a LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. The result was a Finals lost and years worth of ridicule. That is all to say that come Tuesday night, you can expect to see a Warriors team that won’t take a single thing for granted. If anything we may be about to see their most business like performance yet, as they look to close out the series in Game 4. “We obviously know the job’s not done, but it’s a good feeling to know that we came and got a win,” Stephen Curry said after Game 3. “We can play with house money on Tuesday and try to get it done.”
Why you want to sweep in an NBA Playoffs series
While it’s obvious from a stats point of view and then there is definitely the opportunity to gloat, there is actually a real benefit to dismissing your opponent as quickly as possible in the NBA post season. Quite frankly, it’s rest. At this stage in the NBA season every bit of time a team can get to recover is invaluable. Where the Warriors are concerned that will definitely be the case as we continue to witness an all out war in the other Conference Final between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. As the two teams have battled it out, there have been a string of players lost to injury or operating with limited capacity because of it: Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Lowry, Robert Williams, Al Horford and the list actually goes on. This is all to say that with the likelihood of a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference series, neither team is going to arrive in the NBA Finals with a fully fit roster.
This is of course ‘good news’ for the Warriors who at present have two key players - they aren’t starters - in Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II that will be absent for at least another week. Then there is also Otto Porter Jr. who was forced off the court in Game 3 with what appears to be a foot injury. In all the Warriors it could be said are quite healthy as they prepare for what they hope will be the last game of the series. “It’s very important,” Klay Thompson said of potentially getting extra rest before the NBA Finals. “We want to be whole going to the next round.” If you’re wondering, Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for June 2nd, which means if the Warriors manage to sweep the Mavericks they will an eight day rest period to prepare. Should the Eastern Conference finals go to a seventh game, the winner will only have three days off before the Finals get underway. That’s quite a difference.
The proof is in the Warriors’ pudding
If you’re questioning whether this really matters, just take a look at what the Warriors have done to Dallas after dealing with the Grizzlies in short time. They had four days off before coming into the series against the Mavs and it showed when compared with the Mavericks who had only two days after a dramatic Game 7 win against the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors took them apart in Game 1 and have given no quarter since. With this in mind it would stand to reason that when rested the Warriors come in hot.
Yet this is all rhetoric, there is the matter of a Game 4 on Tuesday night which they must win if the above mentioned factors are to mean anything. With the core players of the team all being over 30, they will be all too aware of how beneficial extra off days can be so again, expect the Warriors to be surgically precise in Game 4. “Being one win away from the Finals means absolutely nothing,” Green said after Game 3. “You have to win one more game, and that game isn’t gonna be easy. So we’ve gotta make sure we come in with an even better focus level than we did tonight. ...Closeout games are always the toughest. We gotta come out and win the game. They’re not gonna give it to us.”