Just like in their second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves in a 2-0 series hole against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. A series tie was there for the taking, but Dallas choked away a 19-point lead in Game 2 on Friday night.
The Mavs have shown resiliency in these playoffs, as they’ve come back from series deficits twice, including their first-round series against the Utah Jazz with superstar Luka Doncic missing the first three games. However, coming back against this championship-tested Warriors group presents an even tougher challenge.
Aside from the series shifting back to Dallas for Games 3 and 4, something else that could potentially benefit the Mavs is the injury status of Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins. On Saturday, he was listed as questionable (ankle soreness) for Game 3 on the Warriors’ official injury report, although coach Steve Kerr expects him to play.
In two playoff games against the Mavs, Wiggins has been fantastic, as he’s averaging 17.5 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal while shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range. He’s also taken the main assignment of guarding Doncic — many times with full-court pressure.
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Will Wiggins be able to keep up that kind of production with his ankle potentially giving him problems? Will the energetic home crowd at American Airlines Center have an impact in the same way it has in previous rounds? As we wait to find out those answers, we do know one thing — the Mavs remain confident that they can get back on track, no matter how challenging it might be.
“It's the worst,” said Doncic when asked about being down 2-0 again. “Like I said, they're a championship team. … We can't look back. What happened happened, so we've got to move on.
“A lot of guys played great. I think offensively we were fine. It's just the defensive end we've got to improve a lot.”