DALLAS - In a game that will be remembered and cherished forever in Dallas as Dirk Nowitzki's night, the Mavericks prevailed over the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors in front of a passionate crowd with the hottest ticket in town.
Emotions were high during and after the game as the Mavs upset the MVP frontrunner Steph Curry and the Warriors, who were an impressive 12-4 on the road. Dallas ultimately beat Golden State, 99-82, with much thanks to solid Mavs defense and a valiant 26 point effort by a fired up Luka Doncic.
The rowdy, packed fans at American Airlines Arena included league commissioner Adam Silver, World Series champion/Dallas-native Clayton Kershaw, Dallas Cowboys receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, former Cowboys Roger Staubach and Tony Romo and former NBA player Tony Parker (and more)... All who enjoyed an emotional evening of celebrating Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki.
In a ceremony after the game, Nowitzki's No. 41 jersey was raised to the rafters, where it will hang forever to honor the only player in NBA history to spend 21 seasons with the same team.
In his third game back from the COVID-19 protocols, Doncic gave everyone at the AAC a slight heart attack when he grabbed at his left hamstring, wincing after making his first bucket. However, Doncic did not shy away from driving to the basket and powered through to lead all scorers with 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Dallas' newfound defensive grit continued in the first half, holding the Warriors to only 39 points, to establish a 50-39 lead. The Mavs find themselves with the third-best defensive rating over their last 12 games. Both teams started cold from the three-point line, going a combined 1-for-15 in the first quarter.
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The Mavericks staggered Golden State early with 15 first-half 3-pointers, but went cold in the second half in falling in an 0-2 hole in the Western Conference Finals.
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The Dallas Mavericks coughed up a golden opportunity in Game 2.
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Curry, who is shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range this season, warmed up a little in the second half. The Warriors surged in the third quarter to go on a 24-6 run to take a 63-56 lead.
The Mavericks, who have missed a combined total of over 200 games due to Covid-19 this season, are still fighting through health and safety protocols. Kristaps Porzingis, Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke and Isaiah Thomas were all out vs. Golden State.
In his newfound starting role, Jalen Brunson has scored in double figures in 19 consecutive games, including tonight when he added 15 points. Dorian Finney-Smith added 17 points, including four timely three-pointers.
In the fourth quarter, the Mavs stayed in the fight against the Warriors with clutch free throw and three-point shooting. Dallas' ability to hold Curry (+135 for win NBA MVP) to 14 points cannot be understated. The only negative of the night.... With 1:33 remaining, Doncic went down after a Mavs basket in transition. He held his right ankle, not the one he sprained in November, and did not re-enter the game.
“I twisted it a little bit but not that bad," Doncic said after the game. "I guess it will be OK. It just hurts a little bit, but I will be fine.”
Dallas treated the greatest Maverick of all time (Dirk) to a victory he might not soon forget.
Next, the Mavs hit the road for a game vs. in-state rivals Houston Rockets on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.