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Doncic's 42 Not Enough As Warriors Take 2-0 WCF Lead Over Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks coughed up a golden opportunity in Game 2.

After being embarrassed by the Golden State Warriors in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to get back on track in Game 2 on Friday night. The Mavs lost by 26 points in Game 1 and knew they had to bring a different energy level for a chance to steal home court.

Dallas got off to a roaring start by leading by as many as 19 points in the first half, but a disastrous 13-point third quarter proved to be too much to overcome as the Warriors ran away with a 126-117 win and a 2-0 series lead. The series will now shift back to Dallas for Game 3 on Sunday night.

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After battling an illness over the last few days, Luka Doncic bounced back from his worst performance this postseason by putting up 42 points, five rebounds, eight assists, three steals, one block and just two turnovers in 37 minutes. Doncic shot 12-23 from the field, including 5-10 from deep and 13-15 from the free-throw line. The Warriors have to feel like they dodged a major bullet with the Mavs wasting a masterful performance from Doncic.

"I was a little bit sick, but nothing serious. The shoulder, we got treatment on. So it's all good," said Doncic. "Bad defense. That's it. We gotta concentrate on our defense these two games. Our defense has got to improve a lot."

Jalen Brunson and Reggie Bullock showed up in Game 2 to help Doncic as much as they could. Brunson finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and five assists while shooting 11-19 from the field, including 5-7 from deep. Bullock poured in 21 points on 6-10 from 3-point range in a team-high 44 minutes of play.

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"We were getting great looks. When we're open, we're gonna shoot," said Brunson. "We have a lot of guys who can knock a lot of shots down. ... We just didn't play defense to the level that we're capable of. That's why we lost. ... Two words: chemistry and accountability." 

The only other Mavs starter to score in double figures on the night was Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 10 points on 3-6 shooting from deep. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assists in 42 minutes.

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Golden State got a well-balanced scoring night across the board, as six players scored in double figures, led by Steph Curry, who finished with 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists while shooting 11-21, including 6-10 from deep. Jordan Poole was the Warriors' second-leading scorer with 23 points off the bench.

As Doncic and Brunson alluded to, horrendous defense was the story of the Mavs' second-half unravelling tonight, as they looked more like a collection of traffic cones instead of one of the best defenses in the league. The Warriors enjoyed layup after layup in the final stretch of the game with little to no resistance. Between that, and not being able to hit a wide-open shots in the third quarter, the Mavs only have themselves to blame for coughing up a chance to tie the series.

For the second round in a row, the Mavs face a 2-0 deficit. Although they were able to come back and win four games in five tries against the league-best Phoenix Suns, doing so against this Warriors' championship core will likely be a much tougher challenge. We'll see if Dallas can get on the board in Game 3.