After taking down the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, the Golden State Warriors find themselves back in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2019. Their core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are still at the helm, looking for another chance at a title. The Warriors have looked dominant for the most part through the first two rounds of the playoffs and now find themselves having home court advantage for the conference finals after the Phoenix Suns dropped the series to the Dallas Mavericks. Speaking of those Mavericks, Dallas blew Phoenix off the court in game seven in rout to them reaching the conference finals for the first time since 2011. This matchup features some real star power with Luka Doncic leading the charge for the Mavericks. Doncic has put on a show thus far through the playoffs and will now look to continue it on the conference finals stage. He is showing exactly what many around the league already knew about him and is doing so with a more national audience now. Can the Dallas Mavericks keep this magical run going in this series? Or will Golden State stop Dallas in their tracks and advance back to the NBA Finals?
How Dallas can win: Dallas shocked a ton of people by beating the Suns in the semi-finals and will look to continue their playoff run. The Warriors are a different monster than the Suns as they are a more experienced and lethal version of Phoenix. The Mavericks will need to make sure defense is at the forefront of their gameplan in this series. Dallas transformed itself into a strong defensive team during the season and we saw parts of that throughout the Suns series. They were constantly switching and double teaming the Phoenix star guards and forcing others to beat them. Fortunately for Dallas, they didn’t and now they have a chance to play for a berth in the NBA Finals. Golden State thrives at pick and rolls and the three so making sure to communicate and switch effectively will be needed for Dallas.
The X factor for Dallas is every other player on the team expect for Luka Doncic. We have seen that if only one other player besides Doncic steps up and scores the ball well then Dallas is extremely hard to beat. Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and others have all played a part in getting this Mavericks team to this point and they’ll need to continue their strong play. Dallas is a weird team where they can either be really good or on the flip side, look really bad at times. Against the Warriors, the Mavericks will need to be focused at all times and try to keep up with their scoring.
How Golden State can win: For Golden State, the main aspect heading into this series is to not take this Dallas team lightly. The Phoenix Suns did so and now are sitting at home on their couch. The Warriors need to make sure they come in focused on the task at hand and play this Mavericks team like they would any other top team. They also need to make sure they cut down on the turnovers in this series because Dallas will likely be playing a lot of switches on defense, allowing for easy turnover chances. At times the Warriors are too loose with the ball, and it does hurt them. If they can cut down on the turnovers and just play their game, they should be able to generate enough offense against Dallas.
The Warriors will need their shooters to make shots in this series and that includes Klay Thompson. Thompson has either been hit or miss through the playoffs so far and this team is going to need a big series from him. The Mavericks will likely pay a ton of attention to Steph Curry which will leave guys like Thompson and Jordan Poole with some chances. Thompson showed what he could do in their game six win over the Grizzlies and if he can show up again, the Warriors will have to like their chances to advance. He is the X factor for this series and can make or break it for the team.
Series Prediction: Warriors over the Mavericks in six games
–Dallas is going to fight and test the Warriors in this series. It’s just who they are, and head coach Jason Kidd has shown that he is as good at making adjustments as any coaches left in the playoffs. Doncic is good enough to lead this team to a couple wins but ultimately the Warriors are the better team. They are battle tested and experienced enough to get by Dallas. It won’t be easy as I see this being a dogfight of a series with close games throughout. However, the combination of Curry and the Warriors championship grit will lead them over the Mavericks and back into the NBA Finals.