The Golden State Warriors are in a lovely position. After Sunday’s 109-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors hold a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
To date, 146 teams have taken a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven NBA series. Those 146 teams have won all 146 times.
I like the Warriors chances.
But before we move on to Game 4 and a potential sweep, let’s grade the fine chaps who willed the Dubs to victory on hostile territory. As always, we’ll grade weighting for our expectations of each player.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) was 56.6% this year.
37 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 5-for-10 shooting, 50.0% TS, +19
I was very critical of Green for his Game 2 performance, when he struggled on both ends of the court, was in constant foul trouble, and, frankly, was lucky to not get ejected.
I am not critical of this performance. Because this performance was very good.
Green’s defense was sensational in the Game 3 win, as he was everywhere on the court, playing the role of disruptor and rover absolutely brilliantly.
He was aggressive offensively, which is huge for the Warriors with or without efficient scoring.
And he was the emotional engine for the team, as he always has been when they’re at their best. He was yelling. He was trash talking. He was fired up.
He was Dray, and he was great.
40 minutes, 27 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls, 11-for-20 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 60.8% TS, +22
Forget about the career high in playoff points. Forget about the highly-impressive double-double, and the elite rebounding in a game where the Dubs thoroughly dominated Dallas on the glass. Forget about the trio of assists and the absence of turnovers. Forget about the efficiency, which the Warriors will take nine days a week.
For the purpose of grading, those things don’t matter, because if you do the following in a win, you get a perfect grade.
The other stuff was really awesome too, though.
Grade: A +
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus / minus and lives taken.
29 minutes, 9 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 3-for-4 free throws, 78.1% TS, +5
For the second straight game, Looney had 12 rebounds. And, for the second straight game, he keyed a one-sided rebounding performance, as the Warriors beat the Mavs on the glass 47-33.
The Mavs have no answer for Looney and … look, I love writing that sentence as much as you love reading it.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
39 minutes, 31 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 10-for-20 shooting, 5-for-10 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 68.5% TS, +19
Curry’s gravity continues to be one of the most mesmerizing things in the NBA. In addition to the 11 assists he tallied – a huge number – there were countless plays where teammates got wide open looks because Dallas was giving all of their attention to Steph.
And the moment he had some breathing room – either from a defensive lapse or because he forced the issue – he made the Mavs pay.
Just a superstar performance through and through, and a masterclass in how to manipulate a defense to get the things you want.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
39 minutes, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 fouls, 6-for-18 shooting, 3-for-10 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 48.1% TS, +13
Klay really struggled to find his shot in this game, though I though the shot selection was quite nice. The shots just weren’t falling.
He made some huge shots down the stretch though, and it felt like he was trying to make sure the Warriors could end the series as quickly as possible so he can get some rest before one final push towards a title.
After a disappointing defensive game on Friday, Thompson looked really good on defense in this game, and he did the little things, playing 39 minutes without a turnover, and gobbling up some boards.
He looked good, the shot just didn’t fall.
Otto Porter Jr.
7 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1-for-2 shooting, 50.0% TS, -8
Porter left the game in the second quarter due to an issue with his foot … the other foot, not the one that sidelined him against Memphis.
He’s been sensational these playoffs, and the Warriors really need him to get back out on the court.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 turnover, -7
Save for the odd one-second defensive possession appearances, this was JTA’s first non-garbage time run these playoffs. The Dubs had to dig deep down the bench with Porter, Andre Iguodala, and Gary Payton II sidelined, and Damion Lee playing poorly on Friday.
So JTA got his number called, and while he didn’t do much, it was good to see him out there.
Grade: C +
28 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 86.8% TS, -6
While I prefer the games where Poole scorches the nets, it was really fun seeing him have a low-scoring game on high efficiency. It showed some really impressive restraint.
He’s ungodly talented, and learning the best ways to pick his spots, while also understanding when to defer to teammates.
He did a lot of other things well in this game, too, and he gets a grade boost for having the dagger shot at the end of the game.
16 minutes, 1 point, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 foul, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 12.9% TS, -12
Moody is getting Lee’s minutes, and while that worked out really well in the second half of Game 2, it didn’t particularly work in Game 3.
Still doing a good job avoiding bad mistakes, and it’s a testament to the rookie that Steve Kerr trusted him with defending Luka Dončić. But not a particularly strong showing.
Grade: C +
Post-game bonus: Worst plus / minus on the team.
Sunday’s DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Jonathan Kuminga, Damion Lee
Sunday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, James Wiseman