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NBA Western Conference Finals: 4 storylines for Golden State Warriors vs Dallas Mavericks

Vincent Frank
NBA: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks will do battle in the NBA Western Conference Finals. The winner of this series will take on either the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

For most of the season, it looked like the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies would be playing in this series. But after what we saw during the weekend, that’s not going to be the case.

Golden State took out Memphis at home in Game 6 Friday evening with a late flurry. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic helped Dallas absolutely destroy the Suns in Game 7 in Phoenix Sunday evening. It was a brilliant performance from the Mavericks. It was also a pathetic display from the defending Western Conference champion Suns.

Before we preview the Western Conference Finals with some major storylines, let’s check in on the schedule.

Western Conference Finals schedule

GameDateHomeAwayTime (EST)TV Info
1May 18Golden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks9:00 PMTNT
2May 20Golden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks9:00 PMTNT
3May 22Dallas MavericksGolden State Warriors9:00 PMTNT
4May 24Dallas MavericksGolden State Warriors9:00 PMTNT
5May 26*Golden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks9:00 PMTNT
6May 28*Dallas MavericksGolden State Warriors9:00 PMTNT
7May 30*Golden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks8:00 PMTNT
* If necessary

How the Golden State Warriors got to the Western Conference Finals

  • First round: Defeated the Denver Nuggets 4-1
  • Second round: Defeated the Memphis Grizzlies: 4-2

How the Dallas Mavericks got to the Western Conference Finals

  • First round: Defeated the Utah Jazz 4-1
  • Second round: Defeated the Phoenix Suns 4-3

Top storylines for the Golden State Warriors vs Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals

Without further ado, let’s check in on the top-four storylines for this Western Conference Finals matchup. It promises to be an epic series between two teams that proved that they belong standing with a chance to earn the NBA title.

Related: Golden State Warriors as NBA title favorites?

Andrew Wiggins two-way ability will prove key to Golden State Warriors’ success

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

We saw it in Game 6 against the Grizzlies. Not only did Wiggins score 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting while hitting on 60% from distance, he was tremendous on both ends of the court. That included Wiggins grabbing six offensive rebounds en route to putting up a double-double.

Wiggins, 27, has been a consistent force for the Warriors throughout the playoffs. He’s averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds on 49% shooting. However, it’s the forward’s ability to play defense out on the perimeter that will loom large in this one.

Golden State can’t rely on a watered-down version of Klay Thompson’s defense to defend Luka Doncic. It can’t depend on Draymond Green out on the perimeter. With Andre Iguodala still sidelined, it will be up to Wiggins to do the heavy lifting.

“I thought his defense and his rebounding were huge factors in the game. Then of course, he hit huge shots in the fourth quarter.”

Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr on Andrew Wiggins’ Game 6 performance

Related: Top landing spots for Dallas Mavericks star Jalen Brunson

Dallas Mavericks need that consistent second scorer

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the NBA Playoffs, Jalen Brunson had acted as the No. 2 guy in Big D behind Luka Doncic. That changed to an extent in Game 7 against Phoenix with Spencer Dinwiddie dropping 30 points.

It’s the first time two teammates Doncic (35 points) have dropped 30-plus points in a Game 7 since the legendary duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, we need to see more consistency behind Doncic in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Doncic will put up his numbers. But without a consistent force behind him, the Warriors will be able to hone in on the NBA’s best player. It could be similar to when Golden State defeated LeBron James and his former Cleveland Cavaliers team in the NBA Finals three times in a four-year span.

Related: Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson and NBA’s top-50 players

What version of Klay Thompson will show up for the Golden State Warriors?

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Game 6 Klay was on full display Friday evening against the Memphis Grizzlies. The three-time NBA champion scored 30 points on 8-of-14 shooting from distance. His hot start and ability to connect at the end held off a game Grizzlies squad. However, Thompson was not anywhere near his old self leading up to that game.

Back in Game 5 against the Grizzlies, Thompson was minus-45 in 25 minutes of action. That’s historically bad. This is also despite Memphis being without star guard Ja Morant.

There’s going to be no let-up from Doncic in this one. And while we don’t expect Thompson to stop him defensively, the sharp-shooter must look closer to his pre-injury self than what we’ve seen throughout a vast majority of the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic looks to move the NBA to a new era

western conference finals: golden state warriors, dallas mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The top storyline for this Western Conference Finals matchup will be the old guard against the new guard. At just 23 years old, Doncic has already proven himself to be one of the faces of the NBA. Going up against a 34-year-old Stephen Curry, he now has an opportunity to take the title as the face of this new generation of players.

Just imagine if Doncic is able to defeat a rejuvenated version of the previously dynastic Warriors. With all eyes on the Mavericks, a performance of this magnitude could put the old guard to rest. That doesn’t simply include Mr. Curry. It includes LeBron James and a player in Chris Paul that Doncic already put to pasture in the Western Conference Semifinals.