Warriors vs. Mavericks score, takeaways: Golden State closes out Luka Doncic, Dallas, returns to NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons. They punched their ticket on Thursday night with a comfortable 120-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals to win the series, 4-1. Now, the Warriors will await the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

In keeping with the trend during the conference finals, this game was largely uncompetitive. The Mavericks hung around early and made a run toward the end of the third quarter to briefly cut the deficit to single digits, but they never led on the night. This one was all Warriors, as they played one of their most complete games of the postseason. They dominated in the paint and on the glass, limited turnovers and assisted on 36 of their 45 made baskets.

Klay Thompson turned back the clock with his best game of the series, pouring in eight 3-pointers and 32 points to lead the way. Six different Warriors scored in double figures, including Andrew Wiggins, who went for 18 points and 10 rebounds in another strong performance. The Warriors also shot the ball well from downtown, going 14 of 36.

Luka Doncic got off to a rough start, but caught fire in the third quarter to lead the Mavericks' comeback attempt. He finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists in defeat. Spencer Dinwiddie also added 26 points off the bench. Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 5. 

Strength in numbers

You can attribute Golden State's 3-1 collapse against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 to many things, but a hobbled Stephen Curry would be high on that list, so when Curry seemingly tweaked his ankle early in Game 5 with yet another 3-1 lead, Warriors fans had every right to panic. Kevin Durant isn't here anymore. Curry was the only Warrior to earn All-NBA honors, and they're playing against one of the best players in the NBA. Many teams, under similar circumstances, would've folded without their best player playing at his best.

The Warriors won this game with Curry as their fifth-leading scorer. Draymond Green, who usually never shoots, recognized the moment and gave Golden State 17 points. Kevon Looney's 18 rebounds gave the Warriors a plus-17 margin on the glass. Andrew Wiggins defended Luka Doncic brilliantly. The list goes on and on. Even rookie Moses Moody had a nice second-quarter stretch. Nemanja Bjelica played some of the best defense of his life.

Steve Kerr's mantra since he took over the Warriors has been "strength in numbers." He plays deep rotations even into the playoffs and emphasizes engagement from every player on his team. That's why he runs this motion offense. But the last two Golden State championships were ultimately a function of talent. The Warriors had more of it than anyone else. In a sense, that's still true. It just isn't the talent of one megastar carrying them forward. It's an entire roster with diverse skillsets carrying different loads as needed. Heck, you almost could be forgiven for forgetting that they played Game 5 without three key contributors (Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II).

In a sense, this is the sort of Finals run Kerr has always wanted to make. No Warriors team has ever lined up better with his coaching philosophy. This was truly a team win, and if they get four more, it will be a team championship.

Live by the Luka, die by the Luka

Golden State's mantra is strength in numbers, and that isn't a philosophy Dallas is capable of sharing. The Mavericks are something closer to "one is the loneliest number," because their entire roster-building philosophy depends on Luka Doncic being the best player on the floor. If he isn't creating good shots, everything else falls apart. And that was evident throughout this game.

It's not a coincidence that when Doncic started this game 2-of-14 from the field, the Mavericks fell behind by as many as 25 points. The Warriors threw aggressive doubles at him throughout the first quarter betting that if they could cut of his shooters, Dallas had so little ball-handling that they could either generate a turnover on the pass or rotate back into position before the Mavericks hurt them. That bet was largely a success. It took Doncic more than a half to finally solve the Golden State defense. He made eight of his last 14 shots, and that 25-point deficit fell to single digits, but it wasn't enough. Yes, Spencer Dinwiddie had a stellar game, but so much of that relied upon his spotty track record. The Warriors don't defend him like a star. He was, in essence, a role player who had a hot night.

If Dallas had another star to share some of Doncic's burden, the Mavericks might have been able to endure Luka's slow start long enough for his hot finish to matter. The Warriors obviously had the sort of support structure in place for Curry. Boston has it for Jayson Tatum in Jaylen Brown. Until the Mavericks find that, they aren't going to win a title. Michael Jordan didn't win until Scottie Pippen was ready. LeBron James couldn't do it alone in Cleveland. The Mavericks have done well to surround Doncic with an array of shooters and defenders. It won't mean a thing until Luka has a sidekick. 

Return of the Klay

Curry may have walked away with the Western Conference Finals MVP trophy, but this was Klay Thompson's night. He led the Warriors with 32 points on eight made 3-pointers. After the game, he joked that he should've had 10. Given his history, that feels low. We're talking about someone who once made 14 in a game, after all, and he was scorching hot in a critical game. He was so good that you'd hardly even know what it took to get here.

Forget about the two missed seasons. There were moments in the past few months in which it looked like Thompson would struggle to stay on the floor in games like this. His defense has definitely dipped. From Valentine's Day through March 22, he shot below 40 percent from the field. There was a very real fear that we'd never get to see this version of Thompson. Even in this series, while we've seen him post some big second halves, we hadn't seem him put together a killer front-to-back game like this. 

It couldn't have been more fitting. Golden State's bid to win the 2019 Finals effectively ended when Thompson tore his ACL. Now, their trip to the 2022 Finals is coming thanks to perhaps the best game of Thompson's postseason. After two years away, one of the greatest heat checks in NBA history will take his talents to the league's biggest stage and compete for his fourth ring.

0
0
THU 9:00 P
GS -6.5, o215
TNT
GS -6.5, O/U 215

Season Leaders

points
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
S. Curry27.4 PTS, 5.9 AST, 5.2 REB
headshot-image
S. Curry27.4 PTS, 5.9 AST, 5.2 REB
assists
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
D. Green8.0 PTS, 6.3 AST, 7.2 REB
headshot-image
D. Green8.0 PTS, 6.3 AST, 7.2 REB
rebounds
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
L. Doncic31.7 PTS, 6.4 AST, 9.8 REB
headshot-image
K. Looney5.8 PTS, 2.2 AST, 7.6 REB
headshot-image
K. Looney5.8 PTS, 2.2 AST, 7.6 REB
Live updates
(46)
See New Posts
Pinned

Doncic matches Jordan 

The season is over for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, but this was a run to remember, as they made the Western Conference finals in surprise fashion. Along the way, Doncic averaged 31.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in the playoffs. This is the third straight postseason in which he's averaged at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists. He joins Michael Jordan as the only other player in NBA history to pull off such a feat. Jordan did it five times in a row from 1989-93

Pinned

Warriors remain undefeated in West playoff series under Kerr

The Warriors are on to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons, and have still never lost a playoff series in the Western Conference since Steve Kerr took over as head coach in 2014. During that time they are a remarkable 18-0 in series. Perhaps even more impressive is that most of those matchups haven't been close. Only two of them went to seven games, and the Warriors are 72-21 in West playoff games in the Kerr era

Pinned

Steph Curry named WCF MVP

The NBA introduced conference finals MVPs this season, which are named after Magic Johnson (West) and Larry Bird (East). Steph Curry was the winner of the inaugural trophy this year. He averaged 23.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in the series and shot 42.4 percent from 3-point land

Pinned

Your 2022 Western Conference champions

Are the Golden State Warriors! After missing the playoffs a season ago, the Warriors will return to the Finals for the first time since 2019. The final score was 120-110, Warriors.

May 27, 2022, 3:17 AM
Pinned

Klay with the clincher!

That's gonna do it! After yet another offensive rebound for the Warriors, Klay Thompson just nailed his EIGHTH 3-pointer to put the Warriors up 15. Never say never, but that certainly felt like the dagger. There are just 150 seconds left in this game.

May 27, 2022, 3:14 AM
Pinned

Cleaning the Glass

Golden State has a plus-six offensive rebounding advantage. That's not everything, but it's a contributing factor here. Second chances are critical when defenses are this good deep in the playoffs, and in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors trying to drain the clock, those extra 14 seconds make a huge difference.

May 27, 2022, 3:11 AM
Pinned

Dinwiddie and Doncic are playing a duet

For Luka's entire career, the question has been when Dallas would find him a co-star. They've had a consistent secondary scorer for him, but Spencer Dinwiddie is having something like one great game every four times he steps on the floor. It's a game of roulette with him, but fortunately for Dallas, tonight came up right. Those free throws pushed Dinwiddie up to 26 points on the night. This is just an 11-point game.

May 27, 2022, 3:05 AM
Pinned

Looney might've clinched it

Who says centers are dead? Kevon Looney's offensive rebounding saved the Warriors against Memphis, and he just got two more on a single possession to create a Nemanja Bjelica 3 to push the lead to 17. 

May 27, 2022, 3:01 AM
Pinned

Doncic's incredible third quarter

It's probably not going to end up being enough, but Doncic's third quarter was amazing. He scored 15 points and was hitting an array of step-backs and fadeaways. This is why he was an All-NBA First Team selection for a third straight season

Pinned

We've got a challenge

As soon as that whistle came in, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole started twirling their fingers. Green got called for a moving screen on that handoff 3 for Jordan Poole, but it certainly looked clean live.

Update: The challenge is unsuccessful. That's five fouls on Draymond.

May 27, 2022, 2:55 AM
Pinned

The most important question of the fourth quarter

Luka Doncic has played all but six minutes thus far. He's probably going to get some sort of break here to start the fourth quarter, but Dallas lost his first bench stretch by four. So this is the question facing Jason Kidd, with his Mavericks down 10 and their season on the line: how long can his bench hold out without Luka?

UPDATE: Doncic is starting the fourth. He might go the whole way.

May 27, 2022, 2:48 AM
Pinned

This is getting interesting...

Golden State's lead got as high as 23. It's suddenly down to nine. Luka Doncic has made his past four shots on this 14-0 run. We've got ourselves a game here, and if Doncic has found himself here in the second half, the Warriors are going to have to work hard to ensure their coronation.

May 27, 2022, 2:45 AM
Pinned

Putting Klay's masterpiece in perspective

Klay's night, by the numbers (so far!)

  • His 27 points are the third most he has scored this postseason.
  • This is the 11th time Thompson has made seven or more 3's in a playoff game.
  • This is the eighth time Thompson has scored 27 or more points in a playoff game without a free throw attempt.
May 27, 2022, 2:42 AM
Pinned

Klay is a Warrior, through and through

Klay Thompson did not need to dump that pass off to Kevon Looney for the easy points. He could've gone up himself and padded his stat total. This is going to be his night, but the Warriors just don't care about such things. They're selflessness personified. No individual honor is going to deprive them of their team-first attitude.

May 27, 2022, 2:36 AM
Pinned

Luka letdown

Look, I'm not gonna pile onto Luka Doncic too much. He's not getting a whistle. He's getting doubled frequently. He's clearly tired from an entire postseason carrying his team. But when he's shooting 2-of-14 from the field, yea, the Mavericks have no chance. They have no secondary star to pick up the slack. This roster is built with the idea that Doncic will be a star every single night. He isn't tonight, and the Mavericks are going to lose because of it.

May 27, 2022, 2:28 AM
Pinned

Klay keeps it going

Klay Thompson was terrific in the first half, and he's kept it going after the break. Draymond Green just found him with a behind-the-back pass in transition for his sixth 3-pointer of the game. Thompson is up to 22 points on the night

Pinned

Just listen to that crowd

The Warriors have drawn a fair bit of justifiable criticism for pricing out their fiercest fans. Oracle Arena was one of the loudest venues in all of sports. Moving to Oakland made the Warriors a fortune financially. Frankly, the revenue streams opened up by Chase Center probably helped them with their exorbitant tax bill enough to keep four near-max salaries. But for the most part, it hasn't been the same. Chase Center isn't Oracle. But Chase Center has never hosted the sort of games Oracle once did... until tonight. And props to the San Francisco faithful: this building is ROCKING. 

May 27, 2022, 2:23 AM
Pinned

Good shots into great shots

As an educational exercise, just watch a Golden State possession and count how many viable shots they could take. On that second possession of the third quarter, they passed up several before Andrew Wiggins missed a 3. The shot didn't go in, but it was a good look. That's what the Golden State offense does. It pings the ball around and around until a great look presents itself.

May 27, 2022, 2:19 AM
Pinned

Klay finally shows up in the first half

Klay Thompson has gotten off to a rough start in each of the first four games of this series, scoring just 18 points combined in the first half of Games 1-4. Tonight, he's been locked in. He had 19 points in the first half to lead all scorers and has made five 3-pointers. 

Pinned

The rout is on

It's halftime in San Francisco, but if this keeps up, we're headed for a Golden State Finals berth. The Warriors lead 69-52 after a monster offensive performance that came from their team. Klay Thompson has 19 to pick up the slack for a seemingly injured Stephen Curry, Draymond Green has 10 of his own, and with Luka Doncic struggling tonight, Dallas has no obvious path to a comeback. Get ready for a trophy presentation, because one is coming in an hour or so.

May 27, 2022, 2:01 AM
Pinned

Turning playmaking into shotmaking

Draymond Green is such an adept playmaker that defenders never play him as a scorer. Well, he's so smart that he can take advantage of that. He just faked the handoff, the defense bit on the fake, and he bolted to the rim for a layup. Green doesn't like to shoot, but he knows how to create a few easy points for himself here and there.

May 27, 2022, 1:56 AM
Pinned

Carrying the load

It's worth noting that Stephen Curry has played just 14 minutes and taken only two shots. He isn't his typical dominant self right now after tweaking his ankle in the first quarter. The Warriors are doing this as a team. Strength in numbers indeed.

May 27, 2022, 1:54 AM
Pinned

Curry makes history

Steph Curry has been a consistent facilitator tonight and already has seven assists. As a result he's up to 800 career postseason assists and has become one of just 14 players in NBA history to record 3,000 points and 800 assists in the playoffs. 

Pinned

Moody making the most of his minutes

Remember when Steve Kerr used to give Patrick McCaw real playoff minutes on the Kevin Durant teams just because he could? To some degree, this is similar. The Warriors probably don't need to be relying on a rookie in the Western Conference Finals, but Moses Moody has been so much more mature in his minutes against Dallas that he doesn't even feel like one anymore. That 3 just but the Warriors up 18, and they can practically taste the Finals. 

May 27, 2022, 1:51 AM
Pinned

Bjelica the beast

Nemanja Bjelica is on this team because of his shooting. His defense is supposed to be something the Warriors endure, not need. But this quarter has been one of his best defensive stretches, and he just managed a stop on Luka Doncic after the Dallas point guard forced the switch.

May 27, 2022, 1:49 AM
Pinned

How long can Dallas survive without Luka?

We're now more than halfway through the second quarter and the Mavericks still haven't brought Luka Doncic back into the game. They're -5 in the non-Luka minutes thus far. 

May 27, 2022, 1:46 AM
Pinned

Hope you never forgot about Klay

This feels so right. Klay Thompson's torn ACL essentially knocked the Warriors out of the 2019 Finals against the Raptors. His two-year absence effectively kept the Warriors out of contention the past two seasons. Now, with a chance to reach the Finals again in his first season back, Thompson has 16 first-half points. He's helped the Warriors build a 45-32 lead, now Dallas is trying to regroup on a timeout.

May 27, 2022, 1:41 AM
Pinned

Draymond shaken up

He's staying in the game, but it looks like Draymond Green hurt his hand a bit on that foul. He took a heavy fall trying to dunk that ball, and while he's staying in the game, he's dealing with some pain just as Stephen Curry is with the ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter.

May 27, 2022, 1:39 AM
Pinned

Welcome to the Poole party

That's seven quick second-quarter points for Jordan Poole, but the star of the show for Golden State right now is Davis Bertans, who the Warriors are pulling into as many pick-and-rolls as possible. Of course, a hot Bertans can make that up on offense, but in the playoffs, defensive vulnerability can kill you on every possession. Bertans can only play so many minutes.

May 27, 2022, 1:37 AM
Pinned

Doubling Doncic

Stan Van Gundy just went in-depth on the doubles Golden State is throwing at Luka Doncic, and to expand upon that, Dallas has a roster that's fairly safe to double against. Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie are the only real ball-handling threats on their roster aside from Doncic, so if the Warriors set up their defense properly behind the double, they can easily give themselves time to rotate back into position following a pass. The key is to limit Doncic's angles to his catch-and-shoot threats. Dinwiddie's 3 at the end of the first quarter was an example of Doncic being such a good passer that the defense hardly mattered.

May 27, 2022, 1:34 AM
See More