Warriors, Wiggins defeat Mavericks in Game 3 to take a 3-0 lead

DALLAS — Stephen Curry shimmed for the TV crew, Andrew Wiggins shook Luka Doncic with a posterizing dunk and the Warriors are considering a sweep.

Curry scored 31 points, Wiggins’ career-high 27 points included the dunk originally called an offensive foul, and Golden State defeated the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 on Sunday night to go 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals .

“He looks like Dominique Wilkins out there,” Klay Thompson said of Wiggins after scoring 19 points as the Warriors edged to the brink of the NBA Finals three years after ending a five-year streak that earned three championships.

Golden State, who defeated Portland in their last West Finals before Toronto won the title in 2019, is going for the win in Game 4 in Dallas on Tuesday. No team has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series.

Stephen Curry finished the race with a team high of 31 points.
Stephen Curry finished the race with a team high of 31 points.
USA TODAY sports

“I love the position we’re in,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “I love the fact that our team came in and won tonight. This was the one we felt we needed to get. If you take a 2-0 lead here, you have to use your momentum.”

Doncic scored 40 points and defeated the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-foot shot that got the crowd back on track with the Mavericks 2-0 down at home, just as they did against the top-seeded Phoenix , before winning the West semi-final series in seven games.

Luka Doncic shoots during the Mavericks' Game 3 loss to the Warriors.
Luka Doncic shoots during the Mavericks’ Game 3 loss to the Warriors.
Getty Images

But that flapping bucket from the young superstar was a slip on an otherwise tough night from 3-point range for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13-of-45.

Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-haul specialists for Dallas, missed all 12 of their 3s combined to go 0-15 overall. Both remained goalless, equalizing Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points from the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.

Wiggins’ one-handed dunk over Doncic midway through the fourth quarter was called a foul because his elbow made contact with Doncic’s neck as Doncic jerked backwards and fell. But the replay rule after Kerr’s challenge was a chance contact that gave Golden State a 93-83 lead.

“I got hit a little bit, but that was impressive,” said Doncic. “I won’t lie. I watched the video again and I was like, ‘Oh…’ That was pretty incredible. I wish I had these bunnies.”

Andrew Wiggins dives against Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Wiggins dives against Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter.
AP
Andrew Wiggins dives against Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Wiggins dives against Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter.
Getty Images

About a minute later, Wiggins, who had his playoff career high with 11 rebounds, quickly moved down the right baseline for a follow-dunk after a miss from Curry.

“I just feel the energy,” Wiggins said of his dunk over Doncic. “That was the most important thing when I saw the rim. That’s all I saw. They tried to take it from me, but…” Wiggins said, stopping himself with a laugh before thanking Kerr for the challenge.

Curry scored 11 points in the third quarter, gave the Warriors their biggest lead, 78-64, with a step-back 3 in the last minute, and turned to the national television crew for an up-close look at his shoulder flicker.

Stephen Curry reacts during the Warriors' 3rd game against the Mavericks.
Stephen Curry reacts during the Warriors’ 3rd game against the Mavericks.
Getty Images

Doncic scored 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks desperately tried to close the gap, but fell back to 2-6 in his three playoff seasons as the 23-year-old three-time All-Star scored at least 40 points.

One of Dinwiddie’s 3-pointers put Dallas within five points with 1:15 left, but Jordan Poole responded with one from left wing within the last minute.

The Mavericks, who have played past the first round since freshman coach Jason Kidd was the point on Dirk Nowitzki’s team that won the 2011 title, lost a lead two nights after failing in the final four minutes of the first half nine points to keep a 19-point lead down the road in a Game 2 loss.

“This is just the beginning of that journey,” Kidd said. “I know you guys let us win the championship before the season started. And that’s a joke if you didn’t get it. It’s a lot bigger than just this one game or series. That’s huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here.”

https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/warriors-wiggins-handle-mavericks-in-game-3-to-take-3-0-lead/ Warriors, Wiggins defeat Mavericks in Game 3 to take a 3-0 lead

JOE HERNANDEZ

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