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Dynastic Warriors back where they believe they belong, in NBA Finals after eliminating Mavericks

The reports of the death of the Warriors dynasty are greatly exaggerated.

When Klay Thompson tore up his knee in the Finals against Toronto (then later ruptured his Achilles), when Kevin Durant bolted for the East Coast, and when father time looked like he was starting to win the race in Golden State, a lot of people wrote the Warriors dynasty off.

That was a mistake. No doubt things look a little different now from when the Warriors made five straight trips to the Finals. Andrew Wiggins is on the floor, not Andrew Bogut. And it’s Jordan Poole coming off the bench instead of Shaun Livingston. Even the building is different and on the other side of the Bay Bridge.

But what matters most never left.

The team’s core didn’t change — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. More importantly, the culture and style didn’t change — the ball and player movement that makes them so difficult to defend. The switching and smart defense led by Green. And that insane shooting that is their trademark is still there — Thursday night was Klay Thompson’s turn with 32 points on 8-of-16 from 3.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks to take Game 5 and win the Western Conference Finals in a gentlemen’s sweep of 4-1.

The Warriors will host Game 1 of the NBA Finals next Thursday, June 2, against the Celtics or Heat. This win gives the Warriors a week to rest up for that game.

Stephen Curry won the first-ever Western Conference Finals MVP award.

In Game 5, as it had much of the series, Warriors defense made life difficult for Luka Doncic. Andrew Wiggins led that effort, but throwing different looks and coverrages at Doncic every chance they got mattered too. He never got comfortable. It worked as much as anything is going to, Doncic started Thursday night 2-of-10 shooting, and he was not getting into the paint.

But he is too good to stay down too long. Doncic finished the night with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists. He got a boost from Spencer Dinwiddie off the bench, who was 5-of-7 from 3 and finished with 26 points.

The Mavericks struggled to get stops much of the night. This was a Dallas defense that held the Jazz (the NBA’s No. 1 offense this past season) and the Suns (led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker) in check, but struggled against the constant movement of the Warriors offense.

In Game 5, the Warrriors had a 131 offensive rating. Behind that offensive explosion, the Warriors were in control for most of the first three quarters, stretching their lead up to 20 in the third. It felt like the fourth quarter would be an extended corronation.

Then in the final minutes of the third quarter, the Mavericks got a series of stops, Doncic hit some step-back 3s, the Mavericks went on a 13-0 run, and suddenly it was a game again. Dallas is a proud team, and Golden State was going to have to work for this one.

So they did.

Dallas can hold its head high — this was a great run for a young team. As the crucible of the playoffs heats up, it strips everything away and both players and front offices learn what they have to do to take the next step. Dallas learned a lot from these Warriors and this postseason run.

The Warriors were simply the better team — and they are back where they beieve they belong — the NBA Finals.