Stephen Curry shimmed for the TV cameras, Andrew Wiggins shook Luka Doncic with a posterizing dunk and the Warriors are thinking of a series sweep.
Curry scored 31 points, Wiggins’ playoff career high 27 points included the dunk that was originally called an offensive foul and Golden State beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 Sunday night for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
“He’s looking like Dominique Wilkins out there,” Klay Thompson said of Wiggins after scoring 19 points as the Warriors moved to the brink of the NBA finals, three years after the end of a five-year run that yielded three championships.
Golden State, who swept Portland in their last West finals in 2019, can close out the series in Game 4 on Tuesday in Dallas. No team has rallied from 3-0 down to win an NBA playoff series.
“I love the position we’re in,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I love the fact that our team came in and got the win tonight. This was the one we felt like we had to get. Coming here up 2-0, you’ve got to take advantage of your momentum.”
Doncic scored 40 and beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-footer that got the crowd going with the Mavericks again at home trailing 2-0, as they did against top-seeded Phoenix before winning the West semifinal series in seven games.
But that shimmy-inducing bucket from the young superstar was a blip on an otherwise rough night from three-point range for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13 of 45.
Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-range specialists for Dallas, missed all 15 of their threes combined. Both went scoreless, offsetting Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points off the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.
Wiggins’ one-handed dunk over Doncic midway through the fourth quarter was called a foul because his elbow made contact around his opponent’s neck as the Mavs star jerked backward and fell. But the replay ruling after Kerr challenged was incidental contact, giving Golden State a 93-83 lead.
“I got hit a little bit, but that was impressive,” Doncic said. “I’m not going to lie. I saw the video again, and I was like, ‘Oh …’ That was pretty incredible.”
About a minute later, Wiggins, who matched his playoff career high with 11 rebounds, moved quickly down the right baseline for a follow dunk on a miss by Curry.
“Just feeling the energy,” Wiggins said of his dunk about Doncic. “That’s the main thing when I’ve seen the rim. That’s all I’ve seen. They tried to take it away from me, but …” Wiggins said, interrupting himself with a laugh before thanking Kerr for the challenge.
The Mavericks, playing past the first round since first-year coach Jason Kidd was the point guard on the Dirk Nowitzki-led team that won the 2011 title, lost a nine-point lead in the final four minutes of the first-half two nights after failing to hold a 19-point lead on the road in a Game 2 loss.
“This is just the beginning of this journey,” Kidd said. “I know you guys have us winning the championship before the season started. And that’s a joke if you didn’t get it. This is a lot bigger than just this one game or this series. This is huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here.”