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NBA Conference Finals | Mavericks top Warriors, stave off sweep to make it 3-1

NBA Conference Finals | Mavericks top Warriors, stave off sweep to make it 3-1

Luka Doncic missed a triple-double by one assist and the Dallas Mavericks combined impressive 3-point shooting and defensive efforts to prevent a Golden State Warriors series sweep with a 119-109 triumph in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals

Luka Doncic missed a triple-double by one assist and the Dallas Mavericks combined impressive 3-point shooting and defensive efforts to prevent a Golden State Warriors series sweep with a 119-109 triumph in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals

The Golden State Warriors’ march toward the NBA Finals was delayed twice on Tuesday—first by rain, then by the host Dallas Mavericks.

Luka Doncic missed a triple-double by one assist and the Mavericks combined impressive 3-point shooting and defensive efforts into a season-saving 48 minutes, preventing a Warriors series sweep with a 119-109 triumph in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

Curry, Thompson kept in check

Reggie Bullock tied his playoff career best with six of the Mavericks’ 20 3-pointers, and the Dallas defense limited Golden State’s star tandem of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 32 points, forcing the best-of-seven series back to San Francisco for a fifth game on Thursday, with the Warriors leading 3-1.

“(Our approach was) one game at a time,” said Jalen Brunson, who contributed 15 points to the Dallas cause. “Think about it as four Game 7s. Win or go home.”

Rainstorm affects play

Seeking to rebound from three defeats that had come by a total of 43 points, the Mavericks dominated the second and third quarters, which were separated by an additional 20 minutes as a Dallas rainstorm found its way onto the court through a leaky roof at American Airlines Center.

Having shot 11-for-23 on 3-point attempts in the first half while building a 62-47 advantage, the Mavericks responded better to the delay, getting two 3-pointers apiece from Dorian Finney-Smith and Doncic plus a fifth from Bullock in a 19-9 burst that opened a 25-point advantage.

“We’ve been there before, and we’ve been able to execute,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said, referring to two earlier home delays caused by a rim issue and another roof leak. “This group doesn’t let anything faze them.”

Dallas went on to lead by 29, then survived a late flurry by an all-reserves Warriors lineup to win for the first time since a 123-90 shocker against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the Western semifinals.

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Doncic’s all-round show

On Tuesday, Doncic finished with game highs in points (30), rebounds (14) and assists (nine) while also contributing three 3-pointers to the Dallas total. Finney-Smith added four threes in seven tries to account for a majority of his 23 points.

Bullock did not attempt a 2-pointer and finished with 18 points, while Maxi Kleber had 13 and Spencer Dinwiddie 10 for the Mavericks, who shot a series-best 50 percent from the field.

“The biggest compliment we’ve gotten is they have to play zone because they can’t guard us one-on-one,” Kidd said. “This is a championship-DNA team, and they’re giving you a compliment that they can’t guard you. That’s pretty cool.

“We believe we can continue to make the shots that we’ve gotten and put pressure on them.”

Curry led seven Warriors in double figures with 20 points and added a team-high eight assists, but he shot just 7-for-16 overall and 2-for-5 from 3-point range.

Jonathan Kuminga led Golden State’s late charge with 17 points and a team-best eight rebounds, while Jordan Poole had 14 points and Moses Moody 10.

Starters Andrew Wiggins (13), Thompson (12) and Draymond Green (10) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who fell in their first opportunity to clinch in each of the previous two playoff rounds before prevailing one game later.

“We weren’t alert defensively; we weren’t sharp,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We let them get into a groove; and, once a team like that gets into a 3-point groove, it’s tough to get them out of it.”

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