Well, that was a basketball game we won’t soon forget. The Golden State Warriors had a terrible first half against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, at one point 19 points behind. But they overcame the big deficit, arrogantly defeating the Mavs 126-117 in the process.
It’s a 2-0 series lead for the Dubs but the next two wins will be far from easy.
But we don’t have to worry about them just yet. For now, we’re just worried about the great win… and the players who achieved it. And that means picking up the red pen and handing out grades — some good, some bad — for the Warriors, who came to court on Friday. As always, grades are weighted according to our expectations for each player.
Note: The league average true shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%
28 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 6 fouls, 2-on-6 shooting, 1-on-2 three-pointers, 1-on-2 free throws, 43.6% TS, -19
The strip lives on!
That being said, it was a pretty tough game for Dray for a number of reasons. He was in trouble for most of the night and picked up his fifth foul in the middle of the third quarter, which sidelined him until the middle of the fourth quarter. And then he fouled on his return.
He also had a technical foul and flirted with a second technical foul many times. To his credit he avoided a second technical foul, but would have the refs decided to give him one (there was a classic double tech moment when he got into a fight with Dorian Finney-Smith, but sort of if they only gave Finney a Tech-Smith), no one but Warriors fans would have thought it unwarranted.
Green cannot subject himself to the judges’ discretion in such a critical game. Luckily they gave him plenty of rope on Friday but he can’t count on them going forward.
It wasn’t his best defensive performance either. Mind you, “not his best defensive performance” is still a really good defense when it comes to Draymond Freaking Green, but on the whole he didn’t look like the star player that he is.
Post-Game Bonus: Tie for team lead in assists, worst plus/minus on team.
38 mins, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 5 on 14 shooting, 3 on 5 trebles, 3 on 6 free throws, 48.1% TS, +16
A rather inefficient night from Wiggins who tried to recreate his brilliance from the first half of Game 1 but was unable to do so.
I will say that Wiggins did a better job defending Luka Dončić than any other Warriors, but Dončić still finished with a highly efficient 42 points and eight assists with just two turnovers.
Good passing, and Wiggins has been doing a great job tackling the basketball lately. But ultimately not a very good game from him.
Post-Game Bonus: Tied for leading the team in assists.
32 mins, 21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 10-on-14 shooting, 1-on-1 free throws, 72.7% TS, +9
Was this the best game of Looney’s life? It could very well have been.
I think it’s pretty fair to say it was the best offensive game of his life. He’s had a high-scoring career, but the ferocity of his batting average goes beyond that.
Not just a regular old career high for Looney; has also never scored more than 20 goals in a preseason, Summer League or G League game.
And he only did it once in college: 27 against Stanford on Jan. 8, 2015.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) May 21, 2022
There’s honestly not much to say about Looney because the numbers really tell the story. He dominated the inside, scoring regularly and holding off Dallas’ attack. He did really well when switched to Dončić. He had 21 rebounds – the Mavs as a team only had 30.
And when Green got in trouble and sat in Looney’s place, the Warriors played better basketball.
Simply a sensational performance for someone long overdue to get their flowers.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
37 mins, 32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 11 v 21 shots, 6 v 10 trebles, 4 v 4 free throws, 70.3% TS, +15
Look out world, Steph Curry is learning how to shoot free throws. He is now the total package!
Jokes aside, that was quite an epic game of Curry. He was the only Warrior to be tackled in the team’s dismal first half, almost single-handedly putting together a run in the late second quarter to give the team some life and momentum going into the break.
And in the second half he started dancing on them before going hunting.
Steph vs. Luka is a fight for the ages and I’m so glad we get to see it. I’m also so glad we’re on Steph’s side.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in points, tied the team lead in assists.
37 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 fouls, 6 on 10 shooting, 1 on 4 threes, 2 on 2 free throws, 68.9% TS, -9
Despite the fact that his jump shot didn’t fall, Klay still managed to pull off an incredibly efficient night. For Thompson, it was a great demonstration of picking quality hits and aggressively hitting the tire, and the latter led to a handful of clutch buckets in the second half.
All in all, his defense was really bad in this game. He was lit by Dončić – and yes everyone does, but Klay really struggled to push Dončić away from where he wanted to be. And Thompson’s defense wasn’t very good against other players either.
Post-Game Bonus: Tied for leading the team in assists.
Otto Porter Jr.
24 mins, 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 4 on 4 shooting, 1 on 1 treble, 2 on 3 free throws, 103.4% TS, +11
I really, really, really don’t want to think about where the Warriors would be if OPJ was still sidelined with his foot pain.
What is there to say that I haven’t said a million times? He keeps the offense going, plays quality defense no matter who he’s targeting, relentlessly attacks the glass and makes his shots.
He’s just a dreamy role-player.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 0-2 shooting, 0-2 trebles, 0.0% TS, -12
Lee shouldn’t play now. But Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II are injured and Porter probably isn’t ready to play 30 minutes, so Steve Kerr has reached out to Lee.
It didn’t work in this game. It didn’t work at all as Lee was pretty terrible in his early stages and Kerr never got back to him.
Post-Game Bonus: Worst plus/minus in the team.
29 minutes, 23 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 7v10 shooting, 2v4 3-pointers, 7v7 free throws, 87.9% TS , +26
I said after Game 1 that the Mavs were a little helpless against a player like Poole who can score by stepping back for a three or making his way to the basket.
That was seen in full on Friday when Poole just played with the Dallas defense, saw what actions would stop them, and then punished them with different ones.
He was in total control and just seemed to be playing at a completely different level than the Mavericks’ defensemen.
It helps that the defense is still hyper-focused on Curry and Thompson, but Poole shone even when those two players were on the bench. He’s the real deal… and then some.
Post-Game Bonus: Tie for team lead in assists, best plus/minus on team.
10 mins, 2 points, 1 assist, 1 foul, 1v1 shooting, 100.0% TS, +8
Moody got Lee’s minutes in the second half and I think it’s safe to say he’ll get Lee’s game 3 minutes too.
If you weren’t paying close attention, you wouldn’t have realized Moody was in the game. It’s good. He played flawlessly, which is the biggest thing the Warriors have come to expect from him and an incredibly rare thing to find in a rookie.
Friday’s DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Jonathan Kuminga, and Juan Toscano-Anderson
Inactive on Friday: Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, James Wiseman