The Golden State Warriors will try to sustain near-perfection against a motivated opponent when they go for a two-game sweep of the host Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.
The injury-plagued and undersized Warriors outshot and, shockingly, outrebounded the Mavericks in a 147-116 romp in the opener of the three-day, two-game set on Thursday.
With Golden State forced to play small with its three centers and top reserve forward injured, Kelly Oubre Jr. responded best to the faster pace with a career-best 40 points.
Oubre, who began the season by missing his first 17 3-point shots and 27 of his first 28, bombed in seven 3-pointers in 10 attempts against the Mavericks. Golden State shot 51.2 percent (22 of 43) from beyond the arc and 57.3 percent overall as a team.
Led by Oubre and Juan Toscano-Anderson, the Warriors also amassed 45 rebounds, three more than the Mavericks, whose starting center — 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis — had an eight-inch height advantage over the tallest Golden State player.
“I felt like Nellie,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Golden State legend Don Nelson and his preferred small-ball approach. “It was like the Run TMC days all over again.”
Run TMC was the nickname applied to the Golden State team led by Tim Hardaway (T), Mitch Richmond (M) and Chris Mullin (C) that shocked the top-seeded Mavericks in the 2007 NBA playoffs.
Thursday’s outcome was arguably just as shocking. Stephen Curry added 28 points and Andrew Wiggins 18 as all nine Warriors who suited up got into the scoring act.
Toscano-Anderson, a two-way player who hadn’t been active or seen action in 14 of the team’s previous 16 games, was pressed into a starting role and excelled, complementing his 14 points with career-high-tying efforts in rebounds with eight, assists with five and blocks with two.
The 6-foot-6 Mexican national team player outrebounded Porzingis, 8-5.
The Warriors could be getting one of their injured players, second-team forward Eric Paschall, back for the rematch. He missed Thursday’s game with swelling in his right knee.
Dallas, which was playing its second game in two nights, kept pace with the Warriors by making 18 of their first 36 3-point attempts. But reality eventually set in for the NBA’s worst 3-point-shooting club, and their 2-for-14 finish helped Golden State pull away in the end.
“The nature of NBA basketball is to fall into a shot-trade type of back and forth when you’re hitting shots and when the other team is hitting shots,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle noted afterward. “It just feels like the game is flowing and one team can outscore the other.
“It’s a very dangerous situation to get in, especially with a team like Golden State, which is highly skilled.”
Porzingis finished with 25 points, 15 coming on 3-pointers. He attempted just eight shots inside the arc, making four.
Luka Doncic, a guard who at 6-7 was the same height as Golden State’s tallest player, led Dallas with 27 points, but he was harassed into five turnovers.
The clubs were meeting in Dallas for the first time since the Mavericks put a similar shellacking on the Warriors, 142-94, early last season.
Dallas swept last year’s three-game season series by an average of 31.7 points.
–Field Level Media