Warriors’ Tiebreaking Road Win Against Mavericks: 3 Key Takeaways

3 takeaways after Warriors secure massive road win, tiebreaker over Mavericks

The magnitude of each regular season game continues to grow. On Wednesday night, the Warriors entered into a contest with enormous playoff implications against the Dallas Mavericks.

Golden State, holding the 6th seed, came in at 37-36 with Dallas, in the 8th spot, a half game back in the win column. The winner would have the playoff tiebreaker.

Despite a wretched road record (now 9-29), the Warriors took a 127-125 win over a Dallas roster that was without both Kyrie Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr.

It keeps the Warriors in the 6th spot and drops the Mavericks to below .500 and into the 9th seed. It also provides Golden State with the team’s first back-to-back road wins this season.

Bench points, rebounding, and a bizarre, consequential moment

Steph Curry scores 57, makes 11 3s, but Warriors fall to Mavericks

Jabs were landed back and forth all night, but especially starting in the waning minutes of the third quarter.

Both teams were slashing and scoring, but playing tough defense into the fourth. Role and bench players like Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga for the Warriors and Jaden Hardy and Reggie Bullock for the Mavericks hit major shots.

The latter two, in Hardy (27 points, 6-of-9 from 3) and Bullock (15 points, 5-of-7 from 3) were lethal from deep, and along with Christian Wood (19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block) off the bench, combined for 61 points.

They kept Dallas afloat outside of Luka Doncic, who was wizard-like moving the ball around, with 30 points (11-of-27, 2-for-10 from 3), 17 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

Golden State got 38 points from Poole and Kuminga, but it was a rebounding and effort to score from traditional non-scorers that was huge.

On a night when the Mavericks played a “you’re not going to beat us” brand of defense on Stephen Curry (20 points, 9-of-18, 2-of-8 from 3, 13 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers), and with Klay Thompson scoring just 9 points, Draymond Green was proactive and effective offensively.

Of course, he failed to take a wide-open 3-pointer in the final minute with the Warriors up by a point.

But he made up for it in the final seconds when he set a brilliant low screen to clear a wide open path for Stephen. He came up with a game-sealing stop against Luka Doncic after forcing him into a 2-point attempt when Dallas needed 3 in the final seconds.

Green was vintage, with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks and 4 turnovers.

He got some rebounding and defensive assistance from the likes of Kevon Looney (12 points, 12 rebounds, 5 offensive rebounds), Anthony Lamb (9 points, 8 rebounds, an assist) — who hit a couple significant threes — and Donte DiVincenzo (14 points, 4-of-10 from 3, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist)

Green’s stop on Doncic secured the result, but a Reggie Bullock 3-pointer as the shot clock expired added some intrigue.

Why, you ask? Because of the 2-point margin and this absolutely bizarre moment in the third quarter:

The Warriors were given the inbound pass in the Mavericks’ half of the court. An aware Kevon Looney scored an uncontested layup.

According to the ESPN broadcast, Dallas owner Mark Cuban said that the Mavericks would protest the game if they lost due to the mishap. Cuban confirmed that after the game.

The 2-point margin means a protest is coming, and hopefully some postgame shenanigans.

The not-so-mystery of Jordan Poole

Mavs beat Warriors as Steph Curry scores 57 - Golden State Of Mind

Mavs beat Warriors as Steph Curry scores 57 - Golden State Of Mind

This was a good Poole game. For the most part, he drove to the hoop without doing the thing where he spins and trips and falls every other possession.

He was assertive, as typified by a dunk you don’t usually see from him.

He had 16 points (6-of-13, 0-of-4 from 3-pt), 6 assists, a rebound and zero turnovers.

When he takes smart shots, the results tend to be positive. He’s a guy who often takes poor shots, as is evidenced by a horrific 3-point percentage.

Just how bad is his 3-point shooting? For a moment, he was trailing Draymond Green in 3-point percentage.

He’s down to 32.81 percent on the season from deep (188/573), while Green is at 32.46 percent (37/114).

He ended the third quarter with a dynamic spin move, drive inside and a no-look dish to a cutting JaMychal Green to put Golden State up by three.

Of course, he prompted to ruin that great game with a disastrous stretch in the early fourth. With 6:35 left, the Warriors led 113-105.

Exactly one minute later, following a few disastrous Poole possessions, the game was tied. He sat for the rest of the game.

It’s moments like those that leave you with a perpetual distrust of Poole. He’s just far too chaotic and provides too little on defense to be consistently relied upon, even on a night when he was, for the most part, very helpful.

Jonathan Kuminga improving every day

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It’s hard to understate just how substantial Jonathan Kuminga’s play has improved.

He’s had stretches of excellence in the past. He’s got a head-hitting-the-rim vertical that highlights an outrageous athleticism. There are times Kuminga gets hot from deep, flashes an ability to hit post fadeaways and fill it up from the mid-range. His length has been evident on defense.

But it’s been an inconsistent process, especially on a team that has proven so difficult for young players to fit into.

In the past, when he’s impressed, it’s also felt distinct from the flow of Golden State’s ethos. He was shot out of a cannon and it didn’t always fit, even if his impact was a massively positive.

Lately, he’s shown a tangible feel for the scheme. He’s cutting when he should, taking on defensive assignments with intent, and without fouling as recklessly (3 on Wednesday), taking his one-on-one chances when they make a bit more sense and crashing the glass a bit more.

Against Dallas, he was a constant. He was the primary defender on Luka Doncic while getting his on the other end. He came up with a major stop on the red-hot Hardy in the final three minutes and helped keep Doncic to an inefficient shooting night.

He was efficient in everything he did, scoring 22 points (9-of-11, 2-of-3 from 3) with 3 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Dunks like this were on display from the still-just-20-year-old.

While Golden State isn’t going to win a title without Andrew Wiggins, Kuminga’s development, especially on defense, might give them a fighting chance in a series.

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