Warriors dispatch Mavericks on Last-Second shot from Stephen Curry, Win 125-122
In their first game of 2018, the Golden State Warriors (29-8) flew to Dallas to take on the Mavericks (13-25). The Warriors would be without Andre Iguodala and Omri Casspi as they were resting with injuries, but Stephen Curry would still be playing after making his triumphant return from his ankle sprain. The Mavericks were riding high after winning four straight games, including the Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors. The Warriors would go on to beat the Mavericks 125-122.
In the first quarter, the Warriors got off to a slow start where they were turning the ball over a lot and missing open looks, but were able to turn it around on the backs of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Steph led all scorers with 15 points, and KD was close behind with 10 of his own. Zaza Pachulia also scored a cool six points, and looked to build of his 17-point performance against the Grizzlies. Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes led the Mavs in scoring with six points each. The Mavericks did not shoot well in the first quarter at 37.5%, but they did shoot 66% from three. The Warriors shot the ball at a 52.4% clip, and got hot towards the end of the quarter. The Warriors led the Mavericks 35-26 heading to the second quarter.
The second quarter saw the Mavs go on a run to cut the lead to six points. Their shooting percentage skyrocketed to 47.7%, and they were still hitting 50% of their threes. Dwight Powell was their leading scorer with 14 points, and Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki were close behind with 10 points each. Smith Jr. threw down a monster dunk as the half wound down, and it was something that doesn’t happen against the Warriors too often, especially in the halfcourt. The Warriors shot the ball even better in the second quarter at a 55.6% clip, but they only shot 37.5% from three. Stephen Curry was still the leading scorer, and he finished the half with 20 points. Kevin Durant was close behind with 16 points, and the next closest Warrior was Klay Thompson with nine points. In the first half, the two teams were pretty evenly matched, and the Warriors were able to pull ahead thanks to Stephen Curry’s tremendous return from his injury. At the half, the Warriors led 67-61.
In the third quarter both teams were battling back and forth to grab a lead, and the Warriors managed to grab it on a buzzer-beating layup from Patrick McCaw. The Warriors were pretty sloppy in the quarter and were missing a lot of open shots, leading to their shooting percentage falling to 50%. The Mavericks shooting percentage fell a little to 46.3%, but they were also making 41.9% of their trees, whereas the Warriors were shooting 34.6% from three. The Warriors’ leading scorer was still Steph, who had 25 points. Wesley Matthews was the driving force for the Mavs in the third quarter, and drained several threes to keep the momentum flowing in favor of the Mavs. After the third, the Warriors led 91-89.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors had to win the game twice. The Warriors built a 10-point lead, but the Mavericks hit big shot after big shot. The Mavs finished with seven players with 10 or more points. Wesley Matthews led the way with 22 points and seemingly hit every three in the second half. He hit seven threes in the game, including one to pull the score within two points with like 90 seconds left in the game. The Mavericks tied the game with like twelve seconds left on a Harrison Barnes layup, but the Warriors answered back with a three from Steph, which iced the game. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 32 points, and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 125-122.
The big story for the Warriors this game was that Stephen Curry continued to dominate in his second game back from injury. After missing a month with an ankle sprain, he has scored 70 points in his first 60 minutes. He has shot the ball at a 66.6% clip, which is absolutely absurd. His individual numbers aren’t the only impressive ones though. When he was injured, the team’s identity shifted. They became more of a defensive team than an offensive team, and they saw their shooting percentages plummet, as well as their pace slow to a near-crawl. Once he returned, the ball has been flying up the court, and the Warriors have scored at an incredible pace, and totaled 266 points in the last two games. He has been playing as well as he did in 2016, and if he can keep this pace up, I see no reason that he cannot win the MVP award. I think that his chances are even better now that James Harden is injured and LeBron James’ Cavs have lost four of their last five games.
Stephen Curry was not the only player who played well for the Warriors, obviously. Kevin Durant was also great, dropping 25 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists, and blocking 4 shots. Klay Thompson also caught fire in the second half and finished with 25 points, and made a ridiculous layup to give the Warriors a two-point lead before Harrison Barnes tied the game. Draymond Green also played really well, scoring 18 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 6 assists.
The Warriors play their next game on Thursday, January 4 in Houston against the Rockets at 5:00 p.m.