SAN FRANCISCO —
Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson caught their breath and stopped rushing their shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop.
Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State’s defense held Luka Doncic in check, and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Doncic scored 20 points but shot just six for 18 and three for 10 from deep. He made back-to-back three-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.
Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his three-point attempts for the surprising Mavericks, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” Warriors playoff team led by Baron Davis that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.
That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run. Now, they’re one win closer to getting back to the big stage.
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting eight for 17.
Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins, who handled much of the defensive load. The mark went from the bridge of the star guard’s nose across his right cheek under the eye. Donic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.
“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”
Stopping Doncic is the tall task this time after the Warriors handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.
“I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.“
Curry hit two quick three-pointers in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series. Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime, his first of the game on a layup at the 10:22 mark of the third after missing his first four shots.
“We didn’t shoot a great percentage from three but we knocked enough down to win big,” Thompson said.
Curry, last season’s scoring champion, missed his initial five three-point tries — four in the first — before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half when he was one for seven. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
The last time he led the Warriors in rebounding in a playoff game was Game 3 at Toronto in 2019, when he had eight.
Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.
“It was great to be back. I missed being out there with the guys,” Kerr said. “Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we’re excited to keep going.”
Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start in the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.
Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.
“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition,“ Kidd said. “We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”