The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 to take a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals. Stephen Curry looks as good as ever, dropping 31 points and 11 assists. The surprise star from game three wasn't Curry, however. The surprise star was Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins scored 27 points and added 11 rebounds. Wiggins punctuated the game with one, awe-inducing, slam.
Wiggins Finally Finds Success
Rumor has it that Doctor Strange is still trying to find Luka Doncic in another parallel universe after Wiggins dunked him into the shadow realm. For Wiggins, that dunk was just another crowning achievement in a season that has seen a career's worth of potential finally realized seven years after he was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wiggins has been no bust. He's averaged as much as 23 points a game in his career but has never quite reached the pinnacle that many first overall picks get to. As this season has progressed and as the Warriors get closer to another finals appearance, Wiggins' ascension has been wonderful to watch. Wiggins has very nearly achieved what he set out to do seven years ago.
Luka and the Luka-Aires
There are many too young to remember or even be aware of the existence of the phrase, "Jordan and his Jordan-aires." It was a phrase frequently given to the Chicago Bulls before they became the dynasty of all dynasties. Jordan could average up to 40 points per game in the playoffs but the Bulls could still lose to their opponents because Jordan's box score numbers were the only robust ones on the Chicago side. It appears Luka Doncic is having to face similar struggles. Despite an ugly game 1, Doncic has averaged 34 points in this series. He has scored more than 40 in games 2 and 3, and he's done this on efficient shooting. Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie have contributed, but they have not been Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman (or Horace Grant) by any means. If the Dallas Mavericks are going to reach the NBA Finals, they are going to have to get help for Doncic. This is no longer a league where a European shooter with a brilliant shooting touch is going to lead the Mavericks to the NBA finals.
Steph Curry Is Hungry Again
Don't look now, but Stephen Curry is heating up. Curry only needed to score 21 points in game 1. The Warriors outplayed the Mavericks so completely that the Warriors' players were almost all in double digits. Curry has dropped more than 30 points in games 2 and 3, and his shooting touch is every bit as good as you would expect. The former MVP has found his touch again.
Steve Kerr Is That Man
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been delivering a master class in coaching this series. He has had the Warriors switch up their schemes in the middle of games without missing a beat. This quote from Kerr back in November speaks volumes about what Kerr has been planning.
“I just felt like the NBA game is so rhythmic and pattern-oriented, and these players all run the same stuff. You go from one game to the next and everyone is running high screen-and-roll, high pins, all the same stuff. You see these patterns. So to be able to mix it up is important. There is so much shooting, it’s hard to guard everyone man-to-man and still take teams out of their rhythm. Teams are used to seeing blitzes. When they get used to playing against certain things, it gets harder to break a rhythm. So we decided to do more stuff to break rhythm.”
I'm curious before game 4—does anybody think this series will be a gentleman's sweep? I can't see the Warriors losing in game 4. They are just too well-coached and have too many weapons for the Mavericks team. The Dallas Mavericks are a good team, but they've completely met their match facing the Warriors.
Is anybody bold enough to predict they win two straight? Let us know on Twitter at @EnFuegoNow or @AJontheguitar.