When it rains, it pours ... 3-pointers. Backed into a corner, the desperate Mavericks avoided the brooms, dodged the squeegees and made 20 3-pointers to keep the Western Conference Finals alive.
DONUT 1: STAYIN' ALIVE - Soak it in Mavs fans, there will be a Game 5 Thursday night in San Francisco. Dallas didn't have a four-game losing streak all season, and it still hasn't. Simply put, all the shots that didn't go in during Game 3 went in during Game 4. After going 0 of 14 on 3-pointers two nights ago, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans were nine of 17 as the Mavs led by 29 points entering the fourth quarter. Bullock, who was 0 of 7 in Game 3, was six of 10 in Game 4. Ball. Game. "Our defense was amazing today," said Luka Doncic. "You never know. This is one, now we got to get the next one."
DONUT 2: SILENCE FOR SHOOTING - In the wake of America's latest mass shooting - this one killing 18 children in Uvalde, just west of San Antonio - there was a moment of silence before tip-off ... and a slam dunk of reaction at the pre-game podium. While Mavs coach Jason Kidd offered "condolences to our fellow Texans" and promised to "truly play with heavy hearts tonight”, Warriors coach Steve Kerr went on an impassioned rant aimed at government officials resistant to gun-related legislation: “When are we going to do something? I’m so tired of coming up here offering condolences to the devastated families. I’m so tired of moments of silence. Enough. We can’t get numb to this.”
DONUT 3: JUMPIN' ON THE JAYVEE - It's a lot different - see: easier - playing against the Warriors when Kerr trots out seldom-used Damion Lee and rookies Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga. At the same time. Because of foul trouble and an injury to Otto Porter Jr., Kerr went with a unique lineup sans Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Mitchell Wiggins early in the second quarter. Dallas played faster and better, using a 19-2 run to build as much as a 17-point lead at 54-37.
DONUT 4: BAD BET? - Chances of a Mavs' comeback in the series are still remote, as no team in the 75-year history of the NBA has rallied to win from a 3-0 deficit. But at 3-1, you're saying there's a chance? One bettor believes, as Tuesday afternoon at Caesars Sportsbook in Las Vegas he put $50,000 on Dallas to win the series and another $10,000 to win the NBA title. If the Mavs pull off the miracle(s), he would win a cool $2.25 million.
DONUT 5: SHUFFLIN' TO SAN FRANCISCO - As good as the Mavs were, the Warriors played like a team already packed for the west coast. Dallas played with more desperation while Golden State played, well, like the same disinterested team that trailed the Memphis Grizzlies by 55 points in a playoff loss 12 days ago. This game was over midway in the third quarter when Curry and Thompson missed wide-open 3-pointers, Wiggins botched a point-blank layup and Green missed two free throws, the second of which was a one-in-a-million shot - one that danced precariously on the rim before finally pausing and stopping on the bracket of the basket. Very few NBA games have experienced a rain delay. Even fewer NBA free throws have stopped on the rim.
DONUT 6: DFS THE MVP - Sure Luka flirted with a triple-double with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, but no player impacted this game more than Dorian Finney-Smith. He was aggressive early and often. When he wasn't making his four 3-pointers, he put the ball on the floor and drove the basket to finish with 23 points.
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DONUT 7: LUKA'S LEGACY - Though only 23, Doncic added to his Hall-of-Fame trending resume Tuesday night with a spot on the NBA's First-Team All-NBA squad. He joins Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum as this season's best players at their respective positions. The First Team is made up of players age 27 or younger for the first time since 1955. In just four seasons, Luka now has a Rookie of the Year, three All-Star selections and three First Team All-NBA honors. Oh, and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
DONUT 8: REBOUNDING TO REBOUND - No secret the Mavs' Achilles Heel through the playoffs - and the season - has been a lack of rebounding. They entered Game 4 with a -14 per-game disadvantage in the Western Conference Finals, biggest in a playoff series since Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls hammered the Magic in 1996. But led by Luka's 14, the Mavs actually won the battle of the boards, 45-42. That's the winning recipe: Make 20 3-pointers and limit the Warriors' second chances by taking care of the boards.
DONUT 9: HUGE FAN - Attending the game was former Mavericks 7-6 center Shawn Bradley, who was tragically paralyzed from the waist down when hit by a car on his bicycle in Utah in January. He visited briefly with the TNT studio team of Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. "Anything he needs," said Shaq, "just call me and I'm there for him."
DONUT 10: RAIN DELAY? - The start of the second half was briefly 16 minutes by, um, a rain delay. Heavy storms in DFW Tuesday night sprung a small leak in the AAC roof, with what TNT reporter Allie LaForce called "water and debris" - yuck - spilling onto the corner or the court in front of the Warriors' bench. Dallas had a game against the Timberwolves March 21 also briefly delayed by dripping water. Isn't a 20-year-old building too young to leak? Where's that annoying Flex Seal guy when you finally need him?
DONUT 11: COLLECTOR'S ITEM? - Are the Mavs still "ALL IN" - as their souvenir white-out T-shirts said Tuesday night - or merely and hopelessly clinging to a broken branch of a lost cause?
DONUT 12: STAY OF EXECUTION - The Mavs may be headed west for a funeral, but in perhaps their last appearance at the AAC this season they saved their best for last.