What we learned as Dubs stage epic rally, stun Mavs in Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – Time to open the undefeated Book of Clichés. That, folks, was a tale of two halves.
The Warriors, as they have done all season long – and for years now – came out of halftime as a revitalized team, outlasting the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night at Chase Center. Through the first 24 minutes, that seemed like an impossible sentence to write. Once again, the Warriors reminded us to never doubt them, no matter how tempting it might be.
With the Mavs red-hot from downtown, the Warriors trailed by 14 points after the first half. They put the clamps on Dallas in the third quarter, and the Mavs scored only 13 points that entire frame.
Golden State needed some time to figure it out, but once the Warriors did, it was off to the races.
They outscored the Mavs 68-45 in the second half and proved to be the far superior team.
Steph Curry led the way with 32 points and six 3-pointers. Jordan Poole dropped 23 points and was a game-high plus-26, and Kevon Looney continued to earn his flowers with a career-high 21 points.
Luka Doncic put on a show with 42 points, but was a minus-12. Jalen Brunson scored 31, Reggie Bullock put up 21 and Dwight Powell was the only other Mav with double digits, finishing with 10 points.
For one half, it looked like this series was about to be tied. For the other, the Warriors looked like a championship team:
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors taking a huge two-games-to-none lead, and being two wins from the NBA Finals.
Live By The 3, Die By The 3:
The Warriors begged players not named Doncic to beat them in Game 1. The plan worked and Dallas kept throwing up bricks, even when wide open. That was not the case two nights later.
At least at first.
By halftime, the Mavs outscored the Warriors by 21 points from 3-point range. Dallas shot 55.6 percent beyond the arc in the first half and had four players make at least three 3-pointers. The Warriors had one: Curry, who made five through the first two quarters.
But then in the third quarter, the Mavs made only two of their 13 3-point attempts and led by only two points going into the fourth quarter. The Mavs went 6-for-18 on 3-pointers in the second half, and finished the night shooting 46.7 percent.
The Warriors made seven fewer 3-pointers but shot 50 percent when throwing up their own treys.
Golden State also continued to own the paint, whether it be guards like Curry, Poole and Thompson or a center like Looney. The Mavs are going to have to pray and hope a long film session solves their problems.
There are bad minutes, and then there’s what Damion Lee showed in the second quarter. It was nothing shorter of a disaster, an unplayable body with the spotlight becoming brighter and brighter, and the errors being more costly by the second.
Lee played just under five minutes in the second quarter after sitting the entire first. He took two quick shots, both missed 3-pointers. He fouled twice, turned the ball over once and was hit with a technical foul for a strange scuffle with Mavs big man Davis Bertans.
In that short stint, Lee was a minus-12.
Coming into Game 2, Lee had appeared in nine of the Warriors’ first 11 playoff games, averaging 10.5 minutes per game. He was a combined minus-22. Not ideal.
Whether it be rookie Moses Moody or Juan Toscano-Anderson, the Warriors have to turn to another option going forward. Lee was lost on the court, and Moody took his rotation to open the fourth quarter.
Moody was a plus-8 in 10 fourth-quarter minutes.
Build The Statue:
For all 82 regular-season games, Looney was the Warriors’ Iron Man, somebody that Steve Kerr could always rely on. He does not always have to put up the biggest numbers, he does not always have to play the loudest. It does not matter.
Kerr and Looney’s Warriors teammates will always have his back. This time, the box score was his best friend too.
One game after going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for 10 points, Looney was 10-for-14 and scored 21 points. This was his first time scoring at at least 20 points in a game since his freshman year at UCLA in 2015.
Looney also grabbed 12 rebounds and was a plus-11.
Remarkably, with 3:14 left in the third quarter, Looney had scored nine points in the period, as many as the Mavericks had since coming out of the locker room. The crowd at Chase Center serenaded him with MVP chants at one point.
His next act? Get an animated Joe Lacob to throw down a blank check on the Chase Center floor.