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NBA playoffs results: Warriors have little trouble vs. Mavericks in Game 1

Game 1: Warriors 112, Mavericks 87 | Warriors lead 1-0

Who was the guy? Andrew Wiggins. Probably not who anybody was expecting to be the guy in Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors’ showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, but Wiggins played the best, most consistent basketball. His final numbers were modest with 19 points on 8-of-17 from the field with five rebounds and three assists. But he helped carry the offense early with a quick start while he waited for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to get going. He also played really good defense on Luka Dončić, helping hold him to a pretty abysmal shooting night. Curry eventually got hot, and Jordan Poole came off the bench to have a nice scoring performance. But Wiggins was the most consistent in the game, and he brought it on both ends.

Key stat: 31-24. That’s the number of total Mavericks made shots (31) compared to Warriors assisted field goals (24). And that disparity grew in garbage time. It was 26-22 when the starters were all given the rest of the night off. Whenever you have a pretty even number between one team’s made field goals and another team’s assisted field goals, you can usually guess the team with the assisted field goals won big. That’s exactly what happened. The Warriors did a better job of hitting shots off distributing, and the Mavs just struggled to make shots in general.

The moment it was over: A flurry in the middle of the third quarter ended it because the Warriors were able to match them shot for shot to prevent the comeback. The Mavs were down 18 with seven minutes left in the third, and their offense finally woke up — scoring on four straight possessions. Jalen Brunson hit a pull-up jumper, then hit a floater on the next possession. They followed that up with a Maxi Kleber 3-pointer and another jumper from Brunson. But it was still an 18-point game after that flurry because the Warriors answered with a Thompson 3-pointer, a Thompson pull-up jumper and a Thompson layup, and then Kevon Looney dunked off an assist from … you guessed it … Thompson. The best offensive sequence of the game for the Mavs, and they gained zero ground over a two-minute stretch.

What can the Warriors do to win Game 2? They don’t really need to adjust much. The role players stepped up early as they waited for Curry and Thompson to get going. The Splash Brothers started 2-of-12, but it was fine because the other Warriors were 18-of-23 at that point. Curry and Thompson won’t start out that cold again, and the role players probably won’t be that hot again. The Warriors remained balanced and kept their offense moving against a Mavs defense that has to continue adjusting to this style of play. If the Warriors can keep pushing the tempo to get fast-break points and control the paint, they can probably weather the eventual storm from outside by Dallas.

What can the Mavericks do to win Game 2? It would help if they could knock down shots early. The Mavs got a lot of good looks early in the game, and they just didn’t make them. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on their defense to keep the Warriors in check. Eventually, that dam will break if you can’t make shots and you can’t prevent the Warriors from being in rhythm. The Mavs need to find easier times in the pick-and-roll to set things up. They have to get back on defense. Luka is going to need to be more of a bully against these Warriors defenders before Draymond Green can rotate and create some defensive chaos for him to navigate.

On Thursday

Eastern Conference finals Game 2: Celtics at Heat, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) | Heat lead series 1-0

(Photo: Darren Yamashita / USA Today)

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