In a closeout Game 5 in San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors appropriately wore black ... because they finally buried the Dallas Mavericks.
DONUT 1: MORAL VICTORIES - No shame in losing to the Warriors, who are headed to their sixth NBA Finals in eight years. During their overachieving playoff run, the Mavs won in Salt Lake City for the first time in 11 years and broke a nine-game losing streak in Phoenix. They couldn't, however, win one game in San Francisco. "In our past," coach Jason Kidd said, "we'd be on our second vacation by now."
DONUT 2: LAST GASP - The Warriors led 87-62, Luka Doncic was kicking a chair on Dallas' bench in frustration and it seemed like a blowout in the Bay was looming. But give the Mavs credit for not folding. Instead of dreaming of Cabo, they staged a comeback. A 15-0 run led by seven consecutive defensive stops, two Doncic 3-pointers and runner in the lane got Dallas as close as eight. But a missed free throw by Luka, a Mitchell Wiggins dunk and a three-point play by Draymond Green pushed the margin back to 15 early in the fourth. The Mavs never got closer than 10.
DONUT 3: BULLIED ON THE BOARDS - The Mavs were again slaughtered on the glass, getting outrebounded 51-34 and allowing 14 offensive rebounds. The extra possessions the Warriors consistently earned was the difference in the series, as time and again Kevon Looney grabbed a missed shot and kicked out to a teammate for a deflating 3-pointer. Looney grabbed seven offensive rebounds in Game 5, and for the series Golden State was a staggering +57 on the boards.
Too much Klay
Luka started lethargic
Kevon Looney, key to the series
DONUT 4: WOUNDED WARRIORS - Mavs needed a couple of breaks and they almost got them in the form of injury tweaks to Steph Curry and Green. Curry mildly twisted his ankle in the first quarter but stayed in the game after walking around gingerly a couple of minutes. Green fell hard on his right wrist on a foul by Dorian Finney-Smith and iced his arm on the bench before ultimately returning.
DONUT 5: OH FOR TRIPLES - After a slow start through 30 minutes, Luka rallied to finish with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists. But we would've lost this bet: For all his effort and ball domination and superlatives, he failed to produce a triple-double in the series.
DONUT 6: SURPRISE STATS - As if the star-studded Warriors needed more help, they got a first-half boost from seldom-used bench players Moses Moody (seven points) and Nemanja Bjelica (five rebounds and several defensive plays in the paint). Spencer Dinwiddie kept the Mavs from being blown out with 17 early points.
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DONUT 7: GOLDEN TOUCH - The Mavs lost to a head coach (Steve Kerr) who is now 21-2 in playoff series and a player (Klay Thompson) who made the NBA Finals in his last six full seasons.
DONUT 8: LUKA LETHARGY - We know Luka is gonna chirp at the officials, especially at the offensive end for what he believes are non-calls on his drives to the hoop. But in the second quarter on consecutive possessions he drove, missed and spent his energy complaining instead of hustling back on defense. Not a good luck - or leadership - for one of the best players on the planet. The Warriors back-to-back baskets with Luka not crossing half-court on defense pushed their lead to 56-38. "I'm very disappointed in Luka." TNT analyst Charles Barkley said at halftime. "He's not competing."
DONUT 9: KLAY PIGEONS - On a night when Curry and Wiggins went only 2 of 14 on 3-pointers, Klay Thompson shot Dallas right into vacation. Now undoubtedly recovered from a torn ACL and Achilles, Thompson looked like himself. With still the NBA's prettiest, quickest release, he stung Dallas for eight 3-pointers and a series-high 32 points.
DONUT 10: HALFTIME HORROR - You knew the Mavs were in trouble when Curry and Wiggins combined for only 13 points in the first 24 minutes yet they trailed by 17. Dallas also made nine first-half 3-pointers and consistently got into the paint on offense, but it had no answer for Thompson. Not many halves where Curry and Luka will combine for only 11 points.
Luka = 0 triple-doubles
Klay all day
Constant attention on Luka
DONUT 11: MAVS MINUTAE - Dallas lost the Western Conference Finals for the first time after winning in 2006 and 2011 ... NBA teams falling behind 0-3 are now 0-147 ... In the series the Mavs were 1-0 in games with a rain delay; 0-4 without ... Kidd's offensive plan actually worked, as Dallas set a conference finals by making 79 3-pointers in the five games. But Golden State's arsenal of offensive weapons consistently found holes in Dallas' improved defense, averaging 115 points per game. In the regular season the Mavs allowed only 104. ... The Warriors are 9-0 at home in the playoffs, winning by an average of 14.5 points.
DONUT 12: DISAPPOINTING DEFEAT - In the end, the Mavs left their hearts - and their season - in San Francisco. But in the big picture 2022 was a major success. Kidd proved he is the right coach for Doncic, and this team. Winning a playoff series for the first time in 11 years and getting a taste - and a win - in the Western Conference Finals can't be viewed as anything but progress for the organization.