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The rest of the NBA may have had a two-year period without the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, but with them fully healthy again, the Warriors now find themselves in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

Defeating the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night, Golden State punched their ticket back to the NBA Finals and while they have been there before, this was a surreal moment for Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

“It's hard to put into words really,” Thompson said after the game. “This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I'm just grateful.”

Coming off of a torn left ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by a torn right Achilles while rehabbing from his ACL injury, Thompson missed two full seasons and has admitted to having doubts about his long-term future on multiple occasions. Finally making his grand return in January of this season, Klay Thompson now finds himself back in the NBA Finals with redemption on his mind.

“You could see how much was missing the last couple of years,” All-Star forward Draymond Green said. “We're lucky to have the Klay Thompson we know back because we know how good he is.”

The Warriors have now joined the likes of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s and Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics in both the 1950s and 1960s as the only other franchises in NBA history to have reached the NBA Finals six times in an eight year span, according to ESPN.

Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr has not only been a part of all of these appearances in the finals with the Warriors, but he himself was a part of greatness in the 90s with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, winning three titles as a player with Chicago.

“For our team, our guys, especially the core group, to be part of that six times in eight years, I don't even know what to say,” Kerr said after his team clinched a spot in the NBA Finals on Thursday. “It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work.”

On the losing end of things, the Dallas Mavericks proved a lot this year, especially given that nobody thought that they would be in the Western Conference Finals, yet alone win a playoff series!

In his first season as the head coach of the team, Jason Kidd took the Mavs from being one of the worst defensive teams in the league to being an elite-level defensive team that is on the verge of being a real championship threat year-in and year-out.

Heading into the offseason, they do have some big decisions to make roster-wise, but if they made one thing clear, it is that they will not be going anywhere in the Western Conference anytime soon.

While it was over quick, the 2022 Western Conference Finals was a great spectacle with plenty of stars showing out in big ways. With the Warriors heading to the NBA Finals yet again, let’s take a look at the biggest things we learned from their series against the Mavericks.

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Kevon Looney Can Be And Is An Impactful Center For Golden State

Stephen Curry was the series MVP and we all know the impacts of All-Stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins for this team, but the most important player for the Warriors is and has been Kevon Looney.

When you talk about “glue guys” in the NBA that just play their role perfectly and give it their all night-in and night-out, it is really hard to not say that Looney is one of the best.

He is an “undersized” center and is definitely not the most skilled big man or most athletic player in the league, but Kevon Looney possesses an extremely high basketball IQ, he knows how to play to his strengths and he has been with the Warriors for quite some time now.

This is Looney’s seventh NBA season and while people tend to say all the time that the Warriors do not have a center, he has proven to be a pretty darn good center!

In this series against Dallas, the 6-foot-9 big man averaged 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and he shot 70.6% from the floor. This may have very well been Looney’s best playoff series ever and he had some career games against the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals this year.

Following a 10-point, 5-rebound performance in Game 1, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in a massive come from behind Game 2 victory for Golden State. In Game 3, Looney had another strong performance with 9 points and 12 rebounds and then on Thursday to close things out, he recorded yet another double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds.

Just under 36% of Looney’s total rebounds in this series came on the offensive-end of the floor and time-and-time again, his aggressiveness on the interior really helped give the Warriors a spark of life when they needed it most.

The Mavericks had no solutions for Kevon Looney on the interior and while he may not be the biggest player on the floor, Looney plays his role perfectly and knows what he needs to do in order to help the Warriors win games.

What he has been able to do in the playoffs to this point has helped shape the Warriors into a championship contender once more and with him set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kevon Looney is making himself quite a bit of money with his recent performances.


Mavericks Are One Piece Away From Being A Title Contender

Luka Doncic is a generational talent that is already one of the faces of the NBA at 23-years-old, but he alone is not going to be able to carry the Dallas Mavericks to basketball immortality.

In today’s league, there are so many talented players and almost every team has an All-Star-level player, so it is really hard to imagine that one player can single-handedly win a team a title. Maybe it will happen again, but if the Mavericks learned anything from this series against Golden State, it is that they need another high-level, All-Star-like talent next to Doncic to help alleviate some of the pressure on him.

Against Golden State, Luka literally had to do everything and this seemed to be a reoccurring thing all postseason long for Dallas.

Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all solid, proven scorers with the ball in their hands, but none of these three guys really have that “it” factor like other key secondary stars have in this league.

When you look around at other franchises, it is clear to see where the Mavericks still have a gap to fill.

The Boston Celtics have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Milwaukee Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. The Phoenix Suns have Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.

The list goes on and on of teams with multiple All-Stars and All-Star-like talents, but when you look at the Dallas Mavericks and their roster, the only name that really sticks out as being an elite-level threat that can take over a game is Luka Doncic.

They do not and should not want to shake up their roster too much in the offseason, especially after this run to the Western Conference Finals, but moving forward and looking at the big picture long-term, the Mavericks are still one major piece away from being a real title threat in the NBA.


The Warriors Dynasty Continues

“You don’t want to see us next year…”

These were the words of Stephen Curry after the Golden State Warriors were ousted from the Play-In Tournament by the Memphis Grizzlies and they failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season last year.

Fast-forward exactly one year and four days later, Stephen Curry is hoisting the inaugural Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP trophy in the air as the Warriors find themselves back in the NBA Finals!

After losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, all hope seemed lost for the Warriors as a franchise not only because Kevin Durant tore his Achilles and was likely departing Golden State, but because Klay Thompson had tore his ACL and the team had some major roster decisions to make.

Early on in the 2019-20 season, Stephen Curry suffered a broken hand and Draymond Green also missed large chunks of time due to injury, resulting in the Warriors finishing with the worst record in the league.

The 2020-21 season was not too much better for the Warriors either, as they continued to deal with key injuries to their roster and now, as mentioned earlier, Klay Thompson was out once again due to a torn Achilles.

So many question marks surrounded this team and their health heading into the 2021-22 season and many wondered if we had seen the last of this new dynasty in the NBA.

Now, Golden State is the first team to go from the worst record in the NBA to a Finals appearance within a three-season span since a team did so from 1964-67. 

That team was the Warriors.

The teams they matched with their sixth NBA Finals appearance in the last seven years in the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls tells you everything you need to know about this Golden State Warriors franchise.

This era of Curry, Thompson and Green is one of the league’s greatest dynasties of all time and should they go on to win yet another title this year, it will be really hard not to call them the best dynasty in basketball history.

What they have had to go through injury-wise and conquer individually is a remarkable achievement and the one thing that is apparent around the league is that the Warriors are still public enemy No. 1, which must mean that the dynasty lives on! 

  • Complete 2022 NBA Playoffs Schedule, Results, Gametimes, TV, Point Spreads: Fastbreak on FanNation updates the results and schedule for every 2022 NBA Playoff game. CLICK HERE.
  • Klay Thompson's Emotional Quote After Game 6: Klay Thompson spoke to TNT after the Golden State Warriros defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night to advance to the NBA Finals. CLICK HERE.
  • Here's What Steve Kerr Said After The Warriors Beat The Mavs: Steve Kerr met with the media after the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Thursday evening to win the Western Conference Finals. CLICK HERE.