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The Warriors Are Headed Back To The NBA Finals After Knocking Off The Mavs In Game 5

After two years away from the playoffs altogether, the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years, as they remain undefeated at home this postseason after dispatching of the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference Finals.

Game 5 saw a familiar refrain in this series, as the Warriors jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Stephen Curry was quiet scoring, tweaking his ankle early on, but he was dishing out assists aplenty early, with Klay Thompson coming out of the gate firing from three, knocking down five triples to help Golden State establish as much as a 21-point advantage in the first half.

On the other end, Luka Doncic struggled, scoring just six points on 12 shots in the first half as the Warriors bottled him up and frustrated him with their physicality at the rim, where he wasn’t getting calls he felt he should’ve. The result was an odd half where the Mavs bench really kept things from being a disaster, while Luka and the starters never really got going.

The lone bright spot of the first half for Dallas was Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 17 points and hit buzzer beaters at the end of both the first and second quarters to keep the Mavs from getting run out of the gym.

The third quarter started with much of the same from the Warriors, as they opened up a 23-point advantage and it appeared we were headed for yet another conference finals blowout.

However, it was at that point that Doncic woke up and dragged the Mavs back into the proceedings with some incredible shot-making, cutting the deficit to 10 going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth started with much of the same from Doncic, as the Mavs hung around and made things interesting in San Francisco.

However, as has been the case all series, Dallas digging themselves an early hole meant the offense coming alive late wasn’t enough, they needed to string stops together and, like in the first three games, that proved to be something they just could not do in the fourth. The play that might paint the best picture of the series as a whole came in a 14-point game with nine minutes to play when Kevon Looney pulled down two offensive rebounds on one possession, ultimately setting up a Nemanja Bjelica three.

All series Looney and the Warriors have punished the Mavs on the offensive boards, neutralizing strong initial defense from Dallas by creating second chance opportunities, and Game 5 was no different, as Golden State cruised to a 120-110 win. Dallas simply could not match the Warriors’ consistency in this series and the result is a gentlemen’s sweep that gives Golden State nearly a week off before the Finals start on June 2.

All five Warriors reached double figures in Game 5 (plus Jordan Poole off the bench), headlined by Thompson’s 32 points. Draymond Green had 17 points and nine assists, while Andrew Wiggins continued his stellar play with 18 points and eight rebounds and Stephen Curry had 15 points and nine assists. Looney, though, was particularly sensational all series and in this game, as he had 10 points and an outrageous 18 rebounds (seven offensive), punishing Dallas’ lack of size inside constantly.

For the Mavs, it’s a reminder of the gap between them and the very best teams in terms of consistency. If their series against the Suns showed how good they can be at their best, this showed that their floor simply has to get higher if they’re to make it out of the West. Luka Doncic had 28 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, but was just 10-of-28 shooting and eventually ran out of gas. Dinwiddie was terrific with 26 points off the bench, but only Dorian Finney-Smith (13 points) and Jalen Brunson (10 points on 10 shots) reached double figures.

Their lack of size was exposed by the Warriors all series, and their inability to consistently hit threes meant their small-ball advantage offensively was negated and too often they allowed big Golden State runs that put the game too far out of reach for them to reasonably claw their way back to. There are moves to be made by Dallas this offseason, particularly in addressing their frontcourt, and ending with something of a thud might help them avoid the pitfalls last year’s surprise conference finalist, the Atlanta Hawks, ran into with running it back with a flawed roster.

The Warriors will now await either Boston or Miami, with the Celtics having their chance to punch a ticket to the Finals on Friday night at home.

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