Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in crazy 119-114 win over Mavericks

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in crazy 119-114 win over Mavericks

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The Warriors were as good or better than the Dallas Mavericks in most every facet of the game Sunday, yet the defending champions sweated out the entire 48 minutes.

With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combining for 76 points, Golden State squeaked out a 119-114 victory at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Here three takeaways from the third Warriors-Mavericks game this season that went down to the final minute:

The Curry-Durant duo brought the buckets

Curry scored 48 points on 17-of-32 shooting, including 11-of-19 from deep. He buried a crucial 3-pointer with 42.2 seconds remaining that gave the Warriors the lead for good.

This is the third game this season in which Curry drilled at least 10 triples. He has over the course of his career has made at least 10 in 12 games. Nobody else has more than four, that being teammate Klay Thompson.

Durant totaled 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting, draining 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. He added seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.

The only other Warrior to score in double figures was Thompson, who finished with 16 points.

[RELATED: How Klay Thompson's high school coach kept him humble, prepped for NBA]

Bench delivers a tutorial on efficiency

The Warriors’ bench has had its ups and downs this season, and it delivered a quality-over-quantity when it was desperately needed.

The five reserves that entered for the Warriors combined to produce 21 points, on 8-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, as well as 21 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks.

Each man brought something. Andre Iguodala had a typical line: six points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Alfonzo McKinnie had 10 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes, Jonas Jerebko grabbed eight rebounds in 14 minutes, Shaun Livingston got a key fourth-quarter steal and Jordan Bell blocked a couple shots.

The rebounding was particularly notable, as Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan only yanked down 14 while Dallas won the overall glass battle 51-49.

Luka Doncic, still good

After the Warriors beat the Mavericks on Dec. 22 at Oracle Arena, Draymond Green offered this instant analysis of rookie Luka Doncic: “That dude good. He got it. He’s going to be a problem. He’s already a problem.”

Three weeks later, Doncic still is good – and was a problem for the Warriors on Sunday.

Doncic, now starting at point guard, gave the Mavericks 26 points, five assists and six rebounds. He has mastered the step-back 3 and his court generalship is impressive, nothing short of amazing for a 19-year-old.

The Mavericks are hanging around the playoff race. They might get there. If they do, Doncic will be in the middle of things. He’s going to be a problem for the Warriors, and many other teams for the foreseeable future.

That dude good.

Michael Malone used Clippers' Game 2 win over Warriors to inspire Nuggets

Michael Malone used Clippers' Game 2 win over Warriors to inspire Nuggets

When you're getting your clock cleaned, sometimes you need something to inspire you to keep trying.

On Tuesday night, while his Nuggets were losing big in Game 2 to the Spurs, head coach Michael Malone used the Warriors' Game 2 loss to the Clippers to motivate his team.

"There was a timeout midway through the third quarter, I thought it was a pivotal point in the game," Malone told the media in Denver after the game. "We're down by 16 points and I could see it on some of the guys faces, you know, which way is this game going to go? And I reminded them we have 18 minutes to go. I reminded them what the Clippers did last night and how much basketball was left. It's only going to happen if we believe, we commit and we fight and we attack. And the guys took it to heart and we closed the game out I think on a 57-32 run from that point on."

A night earlier, the Warriors blew a 31-point lead at home against the Clippers, the largest blown lead in NBA playoff history.

As Malone stated, his speech worked. The Nuggets rallied for a 114-105 win to tie the series 1-1.

The Warriors and Nuggets, the top two seeds in the Western Conference, aren't breezing through the first round of the playoffs as expected.

[RELATED: KD, Kerr at odds over star's shooting]

Based on what happened on Monday night, the Warriors may be the ones in need of an inspirational speech.

Is Malone available?

Tim Hardaway, Kevin Durant on same page about Warriors’ game strategy

Tim Hardaway, Kevin Durant on same page about Warriors’ game strategy

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Kevin Durant took just eight shots in the Warriors' Game 2 loss to the Clippers. He did attempt 12 free throws, however, and ended up scoring 21 points. 

"I'm not gonna go out there and just go shoot 20 or 30 shots," he explained to reporters after practice Wednesday. "I don't play like that. Every time I touch it, I'm not gonna just break the play. ... I'm gonna play basketball. We won Game 1 that way. We were up [31] in Game 2."

Durant's and-one dunk with 7:31 left in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 94-63 lead. With Curry on the bench in foul trouble, Golden State did look to run the offense through the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Things didn't work out as planned on this possession:

But a couple minutes later, Durant was alert and ready to take advantage of a Clippers breakdown:

Shortly thereafter, an aggressive-minded Durant got physical with Patrick Beverley and was whistled for two very questionable offensive fouls. 

During a radio appearance Tuesday, former Golden State point guard Tim Hardaway was asked if the Warriors should have KD try to repeatedly punish the smaller Patrick Beverley on the block.

"As a team, you can't let one player get your team out of sync. You gotta run your offense. You gotta run your offense the way you've been running your offense all year long," the five-time All-Star said. "If you keep posting up Durant -- you're letting the Clippers dictate the game.

"You're telling them we're gonna run a different offense than we normally run. No. Keep running your offense."

Hardaway and Durant are very much on the same page.

"I got a pest, Patrick Beverley, who's up underneath me," KD described. "I could definitely shoot over the top and score every time if it's a 1-on-1 situation. But we got a guy that's dropping and helping, and then we got another guy that's just sitting on me and waiting for me to dribble the basketball. 

"I'm not gonna get in the way of the game because I want to have a little back-and-forth with Patrick Beverley. I'm Kevin Durant. You know who I am. Y’all know who I am."

Here's a perfect example of what KD is talking about:

[RELATEDKD, Kerr at odds over how much Warriors star should shoot]

Durant didn't take a shot here, but he certainly wasn't passive or tentative. Just because you only attempt eight field goals doesn't mean you were tentative.

But one thing everybody can agree on is that nine turnovers is way too many.

How will Durant approach Game 3? It's safe to assume he won't be taking advice from Tracy McGrady.

Thursday night can't get here soon enough.

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