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Mavs-Warriors Game 3 Donuts: Role Players Roll Over in Deflating Loss, 109-100

The Mavs' designated sharp-shooters combined to miss all 14 3-pointers in a defeat that pushes them to the brink of elimination.

The fat lady ain't yet singing, but this Western Conference Finals opera is almost over after another cold-shooting, weak-rebounding night by Dallas. 

DONUT 1: FAILING FORMULA - The blueprint for the Mavs to beat the Warriors - in a single game, much less a series - is difficult to execute. Get a monster game (40+ points) from Luka Doncic, be hot from 3-point land (20+ triples) and keep the rebounding battle respectable (within five). One out of three won't cut it. Luka did his part with 40 points, but his teammates were cold from outside (Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans were a combined 0 of 14) and Dallas was obliterated on the glass, 47-33. Golden State's 3-2 zone defense again bothered the Mavs. And allowing 14 offensive rebounds - including one that led to a Klay Thompson 3-pointer for an 82-70 lead - is both inexcusable and fatal.

DONUT 2: THIRD TIME'S THE HARM - Jason Kidd has exceeded expectations in his first year coaching the Mavs. But he has yet to solve the Rubik's Cube of Golden State in the third quarter. The Warriors have dominant out of halftime in all three games, holding the Mavs to only 24, 13 and 21 points while building advantages of 10, 13 and nine points. Golden State has been the better team, mostly thanks to its third-quarter dominance.


DONUT 3: H-O-R-S-E PLAY - Advancing the lazy stereotype that Dallas isn't a diverse, metropolitan city but rather a stuck-in-the-old-west settlement of folks who wear boots and don't own cars, TNT analyst Charles Barkley arrived for the pre-game show in AT&T's Victory Plaza on a ... horse. Given this narrative and images, it'd be no surprise if national TV viewers don't think Dallas' Sixth Man is J.R. Ewing.

DONUT 4: WIGGINS WOW! - Okay, we cringed when Andrew Wiggins posterized Luka with a one-handed tomahawk dunk early in the fourth quarter. But we also have to - grudgingly - appreciate the athleticism. If that wasn't impressive enough, Wiggins followed it up with a left-handed dunk off an offensive rebound to push Golden State's lead to 95-83.

DONUT 5: KEVON VS. KLEBER - In a series in which both teams have star-studded scorers, the Warriors are winning the hidden, ugly points. Though they boast different skill sets, Kevon Looney and Kleber provide the same type of sparks. Neither can create their own shot and you can count their dribbles on one hand. When they score, it's gravy. While Kleber has made only 2-of-14 3s in the series, he's been outscored by Looney through three games by a combined 40-6. Ouch.

DONUT 6: BENCH BITCHIN' - Since the beginning of the playoffs the Mavs have had an, um, "active" bench. Subs Theo Pinson, Sterling Brown and Tim Hardaway Jr. have basically stood and screamed and served as animated cheerleaders beginning with Game 1 against the Utah Jazz. As the national microscope has intensified, the lack of so-called "decorum" has drawn increased scrutiny. Despite being fined another $100,000 Sunday - running the tab to a total of $175,000 - the Mavs remained defiant. Said coach Jason Kidd, "It’s the league’s decision to fine, but we’re not going to sit." Chimed in Barkley, "This is the stupidest thing ever. The NBA got too much time on its hands to worry about what players are doing on the bench." Before Game 3 lead official Mark Davis even joined the drama, pleading with Pinson to change out of his white shirt to avoid confusing the Warriors (who wore their white uniforms). "Can you do me a favor?" Davis asked before tip-off. "Can you change the color of your shirt? I'll even buy it for you." After nodding in agreement, Pinson stood and screamed the entire game ... in his same white shirt.

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DONUT 7: MUDDLED MANTRA - Mavs' general manager Nico Harrison seemed to have coined a rallying cry when he said before this series of his upstart and underdog team: "Time to Get Greedy." But down 3-0 and seemingly with few clues as how solve the Warriors, that slogan might need tweaking: "Time to Get ... Needy!"

DONUT 8: STEPH BE TRIPPIN' - After the Warriors trailed by nine in part to missing 12 consecutive 3-pointers, Steph Curry gave them a 48-47 halftime lead thanks to consecutive triples. At the end of the half, Curry attempted to run down the sideline when he was tripped and fell. The culprit? No, not Dallas' naughty bench decorum. But rather a concessions vendor who was delivering drinks to a front-row customer. Maybe the Mavs should sign him up. Best defense they've played on Steph this series.

DONUT 9: GREEN PEACE - We only hope to someday find a "companion" as lenient as the referees are with Draymond Green. He gets early technical fouls only to ramp up his emotion, passion, conversation and agitation - without a peep or a whistle from referees who are clearly intimidated to eject the elite defender and future Hall of Famer.

DONUT 10: REGGIE'S REWARD - Bullock did not have a great game, going 0 of 7 on 3-pointers. But off the court he won one of the league's most prestigious awards - the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. Bullock, who lost two sisters - including a transgender sibling - to senseless violence, has been active in the Dallas area specifically within the LGBTQ community. After his sister, Mia Henderson, was murdered in 2014, Bullock dedicated his life to honoring her legacy and fighting for increased visibility and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community Upon joining the Mavericks ahead of the 2021-22 season, Bullock immediately connected with organizations in the Dallas area, including Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride, House of Rebirth, The Black-Tie Dinner, the Resource Center and the Muhlashia Booker Foundation, to take action in support of their work. “We are all one, and I believe love lies in everybody’s heart,” said Bullock. “It’s incredibly important to me as a cisgender athlete to stand in support of the trans and LGBTQ+ community.”


DONUT 11: LUKA'S LEGACY - Doncic registered his eighth playoff game of 40+ points before his 24th birthday, widening his margin over Rick Barry (5) and LeBron James and Jamal Murray (4 each). Problem: Dallas is now 2-6 when its star scores 40, including 0-3 in these playoffs.

DONUT 12: MOTTA'S MOTTO - It's not time to break out the brooms for a sweep, but let's face it ... this series is kaput. No team in NBA playoff history has won a series after trailing 3-0. 146-0 is a tough trend to buck. Dick Motta, the former Mavs coach, once put his wry spin on the old "The opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings," colloquialism, saying "The fat lady ain't singing, but you can hear her warming up."