Just about everything fell in the Warriors’ favor in their blowout victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night to begin the Western Conference finals.
The Mavericks shot just 22.9 percent from 3-point range. Luka Doncic, who entered the contest averaging 31.5 points per game this postseason, was limited to 20 points and posted a game-worst minus-30 rating.
Following the game, nothing but niceties were exchanged between the two conference finalists. Doncic complimented Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors for their defensive effort, and Golden State made sure to emphasize it doesn’t expect Dallas to struggle like it did in Game 1 the rest of the series.
It’s a stark contrast from the Warriors' conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies when it seemed a new controversy would arise after every game, whether it be Dillon Brooks breaking the code, Ja Morant going off on Twitter or coach Taylor Jenkins questioning foul calls.
When asked Thursday if he expects the Warriors-Mavericks series to get nastier, coach Steve Kerr agreed.
“Of course,” he said. “It’s the most competitive basketball on Earth. These are the best players on Earth. Everybody’s fighting for something that they really want. There’s a lot of mutual respect, but at some point in the series -- and it’s always been this way for me as a player, as a coach -- after a couple of games, it starts to get testy. Because both sides want it so badly.
"It’s nothing personal. It’s competition."
There's a good chance the intensity picks up right away in Game 2 on Friday night. Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Mavericks are 10-0 this season in games following a loss by at least 20 points. Dallas did that twice in the conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns, rebounding from a 20-point loss in Game 2 for a win in Game 3, and again responding to a 30-point loss in Game 5 to a Game 6 win at home.
Buckle up. Things are about to get nasty.