Despite winning three out of four against the Warriors in the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks have their work cut out for them in the Western Conference finals.
After taking down the No. 1-seeded Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinal round on Sunday night, Dallas will now face off against the Warriors at Chase Center on Wednesday night, a team they had plenty of success against in the regular season.
Mavericks point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, though, is aware that Dallas will face off against a different-looking Golden State team that wasn't at full strength when the two teams faced each other four times in the regular season.
"I don't know if they were completely healthy, were they, when we played them? So obviously, it's playoff basketball and they're one of the most historic teams of all time, their nucleus is still intact," Dinwiddie told reporters after the game. "Jordan Poole's playing amazing, so we're going to have our work cut out for us. We're looking forward to heading to the Bay and continuing this thing. It's the Western Conference finals, it's what you dream of."
The Warriors were without at least one of their four stars in every single matchup against Dallas this season. On Jan. 5, the Warriors were without Klay Thompson, who was close to making his return to the court after a 31-month absence. On Jan. 25, the Warriors pulled out a win without Draymond Green. On Feb. 27, Golden State was without Thompson and Green. On March 3, the Warriors were without Green once again.
Even though Dallas had ownage over the Warriors in the regular season and went on a second-half tear that nearly resulted in the Mavericks leapfrogging the Warriors for the No. 3 seed in the West, the playoffs are a whole different beast.
Superstar Luka Dončić, Dinwiddie and the Mavericks certainly will have their hands full against a much-healthier Warriors team this time around.