History is now on the Warriors’ side, as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the NBA playoffs in 146 attempts.
Steph Curry led Golden State in scoring with an efficient 31 points to go with 11 assists and five rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins — who slammed home a huge, posterizing dunk on Mavs star Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter — added a double-double of his own with 27 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
“When you’re up 2-0 and you win on the road, it gives you a stranglehold and control of the series. That’s huge,” Curry told reporters.
“We obviously know that the job’s not done, but it’s a good feeling to know that we can play with house money on Tuesday and try and get the job done.”
Doncic continued his individual postseason magic with 40 points and 11 rebounds but was let down by a number of his teammates on a disappointing night on home turf.
Three of Dallas’ starters — Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Reggie Bullock — combined for just 12 points, while Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber mustered zero points between them in 40 and 24 minutes of action respectively.
The Mavericks have exceeded all expectations this season, thanks largely to the organization instilled by new head coach Jason Kidd and stunned last season’s NBA finalists, the Phoenix Suns, in the Western Conference semifinals.
But this experienced, battle-hardened Warriors team is proving to be a step too far for a Dallas team making its first real playoff run with Doncic leading the charge.
“This was a great lesson learned from us … this isn’t the end,” a defiant Kidd told reporters. “This was just the beginning and I said this in the Phoenix series, if you guys recall. You guys got good memories.”
The Warriors will certainly not be taking this lead for granted; in 2016, they famously lost the NBA Finals after leading 3-1 against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and the defeat is still a painful blot on the resume of this Golden State dynasty.
“Being one win away from the Finals means absolutely nothing,” Draymond Green told reporters. “You have to win one more game, and that game isn’t going to be easy.
“So we’ve gotta make sure we come in with an even better focus level than we did tonight. Closeout games are always the toughest. We gotta come out and win the game. They’re not gonna give it to us.”
Game 4 is on Tuesday in Dallas.
The Warriors are bidding to reach a sixth NBA Finals in eight seasons and are set to face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics.
The Heat currently leads that series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Monday evening.