SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State's defense held Luka Doncic in check, and Golden State beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Klay Thompson helped Golden State pull away in the second half.
Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” playoff team that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.
That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The team reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run. Now, they're one win closer to getting back to the big stage.
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8 for 17.
Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark went from the bridge of his nose across his right cheek under the eye. Donic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.
Stopping Doncic is the tall task this time after Golden State already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.
Curry hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series. Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime, his first of the game on a layup at the 10:22 mark of the third after missing his first four shots.
Curry, last season's scoring champ, missed his initial five 3-point tries — four in the first — before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half when he was 1 for 7. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Steve Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.
Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start in the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.
Coach Jason Kidd’s Mavericks couldn't keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Golden State.
“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they're going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition," Kidd said. "We have to be cautious of that. We don't want a track meet.”
Dallas received a $50,000 fine by the NBA — the team's second penalty this postseason — for “team bench decorum” during the Suns series after players and a member of the coaching staff remained standing for extended time far enough from the bench area that they were “encroaching upon the playing court during game action” during Game 7 against the Suns.
“Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,” Kidd said. “... Who complained? It was a blowout so I don't think the fans were complaining. I thought the guys did what they were supposed to do. They were cheering on their guys.”
The previous fine against the Mavs was for $25,000 on May 6.w