After falling down 0-2 in Golden State, the Dallas Mavericks will attempt to win their first game of the Western Conference finals tonight. A defeat at home would put them in an insurmountable hole, so this will be a do a die scenario for the Mavs.
Dallas was blown out in Game 1 but came out with a lot of intensity in Game 2, hitting big time threes and leading by 19 points in the second quarter. However, once Golden State was able to ramp up their defense, and the threes stopped falling, Dallas lost momentum and ended up losing the game – a heartbreaking defeat which could well prove to be the deciding moment in this series.
Game 2 was quite generous points-wise, as we saw an 126-117 scoreline, and this has made the bookies raise the under / over line with 3 points for this Game 3 (217,5). I don’t think it’s warranted.
Yes, there were 243 points scored in Game 2, but both teams shot unrealistically high percentages. The Warriors were 56% from the field and 50% from three, while the Mavs were 47.5% from the field and 46.5% from three – but they shot no less than 45 (!!!) threes. Let’s not forget that in Game 1 the total only reached 199 points.
Jason Kidd has lamented his team’s reliance on three pointers, so it’s safe to assume Dallas will be a bit less trigger happy from beyond the arc this time around, which should automatically translate into less points. Dallas will run its usual slower pace, as this is their best shot to hurt Golden State, and will look to drive more as opposed to launch shots from distance.
Dallas has also also played MUCH better defense at home in these playoffs. It’s quite remarkable how much lower scoring their home games have been, so that must be taken into account. NOT ONE of their 6 playoff home games went over today’s total of 217,5. In fact, only 2/6 went over 200 points.
The Warriors have been involved in more high scoring games in the playoffs (8/13 went over today’s total), but they did have their games in which they either struggled to score, or played lock down defense, or both. I think the stats related to Dallas are much more one-sided and telling, particularly with them as the home team.
Injury report: Nothing new on this front. Mavs continue to be without Hardaway, Warriors will still miss Iggy, Payton II and Wiseman.
It’s reasonable to expect both teams to shoot a bit lower percentages from the field compared to the last game, and Dallas to rely a bit more on twos compared to threes. As such, I am taking the under here. Prediction: Dallas Mavericks – Golden State Warriors 104 – 106.