Stephen Curry strafed for the TV cameras, Andrew Wiggins rocked Luka Doncic with a posterizing dunk and the Warriors are thinking of a series sweep.
Curry scored 31 points, Wiggins’ playoff career high of 27 points included the dunk that was originally called an offensive foul and Golden State beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 on Sunday night for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
“He looks like Dominique Wilkins there,” Klay Thompson said of Wiggins after scoring 19 points as the Warriors cruised to the NBA Finals, three years after a five-year run ended. yielded three championships.
Golden State, which swept Portland in its last Western Finals of 2019, can close the series in Game 4 on Tuesday in Dallas. No team has rallied 3-0 to win an NBA playoff series.
“I love the position we’re in,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I like that our team came in and got the win tonight. It was the one we felt we had to get. Coming here 2-0, you have to take advantage of your momentum.
Doncic scored 40 goals and beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-footer that sent the crowd going again with the Mavericks at home trailing 2-0, as they did against top seed Phoenix before winning the Western semi-final series in seven games.
But that shimmy-inducing bucket from the young superstar was a blow on an otherwise tough three-point night for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13 of 45.
Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-range specialists from Dallas, missed all 15 of their three combined. Both went scoreless, offsetting Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points from the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.
Wiggins’ one-handed dunk on Doncic midway through the fourth quarter was ruled a foul because his elbow made contact around his opponent’s neck as the Mavs star stepped back and fell. But the replay decision after Kerr’s challenge was an accidental contact, giving Golden State a 93-83 lead.
“I was a bit hit, but it was impressive,” said Doncic. “I’m not going to lie. I saw the video again and was like, ‘Oh…’ That was pretty amazing.”
About a minute later, Wiggins, who matched his playoff career high with 11 rebounds, quickly moved down the right baseline for a dunk follow up on a missed Curry.
“I just feel the energy,” Wiggins said of his dunk on Doncic. “That’s the main thing when I saw the rim. That’s all I saw. They tried to take it away from me, but…” Wiggins said, breaking off into a laugh before thanking Kerr for the challenge.
The Mavericks, who have gone past the first round since first-year coach Jason Kidd was point guard for the Dirk Nowitzki-led team that won the 2011 title, lost a nine-point lead in the last four minutes of the first half two nights after failing to maintain a 19-point road lead in a Game 2 loss.
“This is just the start of this journey,” Kidd said. “I know you won us the championship before the start of the season. And it’s a joke if you haven’t understood it. It is much more important than this game or this series. It’s huge for our franchise because none of you had us here.