There are two series left and in each one a ticket is awarded to the 2022 NBA Finals. Four teams play it. On the one hand, Heat y Celtics They reissue a confrontation that took place two years ago in the Lake Buena Vista bubble -with historical overtones to everyone’s misfortune- in which the Heat will want to repeat that result that put them back in the direct fight for the title and the Celtics will go to take advantage of this splendid streak that reminds them of how flowery their record has been. For the other, Warriors y Mavericks. This clash of the West fits badly with the current trend in which the opposite part of the table is the strong one, nothing to do with what happened in most of the 21st century, but it is a struggle in which time plays a role fundamental. Hardly any game of this magnitude can be explained without looking back and this one, or the seven that fans expect, is no exception.
As was already explained when the Mavericks reached these conference finals, the Grizzlies were also left out, like the Suns, and since 2011 the two best players in the regular phase were not left out. That year Dallas took the title, the only one they have nationally. In Phoenix, watching that historic beating, Dirk Nowitzki was watching closely. Jason Kidd, from the bench. Heroes of that solitary success in a franchise that has quickly recovered from the departure of its most important player. Because now they yearn for another European genius, in this case from Slovenia and who is called Luka Doncic. They will all go bare-chested, once the barrier of the first round was broken by advancing two, against the Warriors who took down, precisely, the aforementioned Grizzlies. And in the case that is on the table the times are much shorter but not necessarily much more spidical..
For the Californian franchise, only a few things have changed since their five-year stretch in which they reached every final and took home three of those championships. In 2019 Kevin Durant left and Klay Thompson broke in that damn fall against the Raptors, not at all favorites to dethrone the team that changed basketball. The injuries to Curry and Green have seasoned these two years, through a pandemic, of ups and downs for a squad that has been adjusting: Russell was not worth it and Wiggins did, even if it is a contract to move; Wiseman has not played throughout the course and is the unknown of the new project; Iguodala can bring the vintage effect and would be a key player against Doncic if he was fit physically; Bob Myers, the man in charge of signing, hit on complements like Otto Porter, tools for the future like Jonathan Kuminga and a gold substitute like Jordan Poole. And Kerr runs the band. Like never before but like always. In just two years they have returned.
The head-to-head is interesting and also confirms this temporary dictatorship. In the years in which the Warriors won the title, 2015, 2017 and 2018, the Mavericks lost every game in the regular season: 12-0, four losses per season. In the other courses it has not happened. Since that change of scenery three years ago, the Texans have lost only two of the ten games and the balance of 2021/22 is 3-1 in their favor. The trend changed and has meaning.
It will be more difficult to guess where the shots can go. The unpredictable has settled down in the playoffs. The Mavericks forced to match up with the Jazz and beat them in six games, using their weapons well and counting on Doncic’s injury in between. I work without extreme difficulty. But in the next round they did take the jaws of many out of place, leaving them open-mouthed: the runner-up, with Paul and Booker as one of the most dangerous outside games in the NBA, a dominating center like Ayton who did not have a pair of similar dance in the area, sharp elements such as Crowder or Bridges and a structure that had proven itself as a winner, not only last year but in the regular phase of this one, gave in and gave in with terrible matches to finish on the floor at home in a seventh for history. Elsewhere in the draw, the Warriors began suffering from Ja Morant and his tachycardic basketball, they secured the third victory in a match in which the base was no longer in front and in which they were losing all night and culminated the swing in two more times : ridiculous in Memphis, losing by 55 points, and winning at the Chase Center in San Francisco to get off the screen.
The adjustments by Kidd and his coaching staff unnerved Monty Williams, Coach of the Year, and drew a line. In iron defense balls do not enter and the Warriors is only a break in rhythm that can bother them. The Mavs have been getting into the plan and even bad offensive containers like Bullock or Bertans are contributing behind. But the story of the Warriors and their devastating attack has always left little in sight that they also know how to move to stop the rival: a ratio of 106.9 left them as the best team in this facet during the regular phase and now, despite the improvement of the Mavs, the two teams tie in the playoffs with 110.5. The one who can reduce the most without going over, like in the television program in which the price of objects is guessed, will win.
During previous matchups we’ve seen some hint of where matchup shots might go, barring someone with an ace up their sleeve. And remembering that Gary Payton, a more than possible defender of Luka Doncic, will not be in the game after injuring Dillon Brooks with a flagrant foul. Curry, Kerr’s biggest threat, could be split between Brunson and Bullock. It would be important for Dallas to protect Doncic by putting him with Wiggins, with less influence in circulation than a Thompson who in any cart takes points from you and who Dorian Finney-Smith should put a bolt on. Green can come up with Powell, weak, and Kleber, who can bear to go out in a different way than what happened with Gobert and Ayton, and that Looney comes from capturing 22 rebounds can readjust the rotation to look for a big figure if Golden State needs it. And in the appearance of substitutes, two outside players are being tremendously important, one for each side: Jordan Poole and Spencer Dinwiddie. Brilliant minds will appear and destroy everything thought. The objective is none other than one and there are two paths: Warriors is to return where it left off two years ago, with the same core and more maturity; Mavericks is filming a new project and is taking giant steps to evolve. Only the best will remain, which is enough.