3 observations: Warriors clinch finals berth with win over Mavericks in Game 5
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Golden State Warriors (3-1) hosted the Dallas Mavericks (1-3) in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. Golden State intended to clinch its berth in the NBA finals with a win. Dallas hoped to force a Game 6 with a victory. Klay Thompson deposited 8 triples to lead the Warriors to victory, 120-110.
Thompson led the Warriors with 32 points, shooting 12-for-25 from the field, 16 of which were from beyond the arc.
Stephen Curry and Draymond Green combined for 32 points on 24 shots and 18 assists in the victory.
Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie combined to score 54 points on 40 shots for the Mavericks.
Here are 3 observations from the Warriors’ win.
Game 5 Klay and all its poetry
Golden State’s 2-year hiatus from the playoffs started with Klay Thompson landing awkwardly after a dunk in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA finals.
It’s only fitting that the next time the Warriors clinched an appearance in the NBA finals, in the season in which Thompson returned from a pair of catastrophic leg injuries, the sniper was the one to lead them there.
Klay scored 19 of his 32 points before halftime, making 7 of 11 field goal attempts and 5 of 8 threes before the intermission. He powered their 17-point lead at the break, capitalizing on poor transition defense, off-ball movement, and Golden State’s Split actions to heat up from deep.
The second side of the floor
The shooting gravity that Thompson possesses allowed the Warriors’ offense to flow through to the weak side of the floor. Even if Draymond Green, Thompson, or another Warrior were working the ball on one side of the court, Dallas’ off-ball defense was focused on tracking Thompson and the ball.
But, that’s the secret weapon behind Golden State’s offensive attack. They use the attention you dedicate to shooters and the ball to their advantage. If they catch helpers telegraphing their focus to the other side of the floor, they beat you backdoor or use off-ball actions to forge space for cuts.
That’s what happened in the first half, with the likes of Jordan Poole and other Warriors playing off of the attention Thompson commands to sneak behind the Maverick defense for finishes at the rim. So even if Thompson couldn’t shake free, there was a look elsewhere on the floor.
More Looney tunes
Steph Curry secured the first-ever Western Conference finals MVP award, but you could argue that Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins were worthy candidates, as well. Looney, in particular, had an incredible series. 18 rebounds in Game 5; 7 on the offensive glass.
That effort single-handedly increases Golden State’s margin for error on offense. They can play loose and live with some sloppiness because they know they’re going to get extra plays on select possessions because of what Looney does on the offensive glass.
Looney may fall out of the headline because of the firepower Golden State has on offense, but he’s a central figure in what they do.
The Warriors will await the conclusion of the Eastern Conference finals series between the Heat and the Celtics to see what the last obstacle between them and a championship looks like. The NBA finals start on June 2, with Golden State holding homecourt advantage. You can catch Game 1 on ABC at 9 PM, Eastern time.