Fri | Aug 12, 2022

Doncic taking it game by game after avoiding sweep

Published:Thursday | May 26, 2022 | 12:12 AM
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (right) controls the ball next to Dallas Mavericks centre Dwight Powell (second left) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals on Tuesday.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (right) controls the ball next to Dallas Mavericks centre Dwight Powell (second left) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals on Tuesday.

DALLAS (AP):

LUKA DONCIC and the Dallas Mavericks had to wait out a rain delay in the middle of the game and sweat out some tense moments near the end.

Once they did, they avoided a sweep and were still alive in the Western Conference finals.

Doncic had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat Golden State 119-109 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, when there was a 16-minute rain delay at the start of the second half and the Warriors cut a 29-point deficit down to single digits late.

“Just got to finish the game. A win is a win,” said Doncic, who was 10-of-26 shooting with only three made 3s but got plenty of help from his supporting cast.

It was the 10th double-double in his 14 games this postseason for Doncic, who also had nine assists. When he had 40 points in Game 3, Reggie Bullock shot 0 for 10 with seven misses from 3-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Bullock added 18 points on 6-of-10 – all 3-pointers. Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Maxi Kleber, who was 2-of-14 shooting (all 3s) in the first three games, made two 3s before half-time and was 5-of-6 shooting overall for 13 points.

“Everybody in that locker room felt like we had more basketball to play,” Finney-Smith said. “We just wanted to get the win any way. ... Feel like we came out desperate that first half.”

The loss snapped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak in Western Conference finals games, though they are still firmly in control of this series headed back to California for Game 5 tonight.

CONFIDENCE

“It was almost like an ego win (for Dallas). You come out and really have nothing to lose. So that confidence started early,” Stephen Curry said. “And we really didn’t do nothing to slow it down, and then that’s when the avalanche starts. You tip your hat to them.”

Curry had 20 points and returned to the game with 3:22 left – his first appearance in the fourth quarter – after the Warriors had cut a 29-point deficit to 110-102. But they never got closer even with Curry and other starters returned to the floor.

“Just made the decision to see if we could pull off a miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Dallas was great tonight. They deserved to win. This is the conference finals. This is how it’s supposed to be.”

Doncic then drove for a dunk and Bullock had his sixth 3-pointer, among the 20 long-range makes for the Mavericks, who have now have 11 games this postseason with at least 15 threes.

“I still believe we can win. Swept or not swept, if you lose, you lose,” Doncic said. “Got to go game by game.”

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Only three of the 146 teams to fall in that deep hole have even been able to force a seventh game.