The Golden State Warriors will probably be the primary to inform you that they don’t seem to be looking ahead — that they are solely focused on the following game and nothing else. History, nevertheless, overwhelmingly tells us that they are almost actually headed to their sixth NBA Finals in eight seasons.
The Warriors’ 109-100 Game 3 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday gave them a 3-0 lead within the Western Conference finals, and no NBA team has ever — ever — come back from that deficit in a postseason series. It isn’t a small sample size either. Teams which are up 3-0 have gone 146-0 of their playoff series over the course of NBA history. Given the way in which that the Warriors have played against the Mavericks, and within the two series before that, it’s almost unimaginable to assume them becoming the primary to blow such a lead.
That said, Golden State is not a franchise prone to take a lead with no consideration. They infamously lost the 2016 Finals after holding a 3-1 advantage, which resulted in years of mockery and viral memes. So you may expect Golden State to return out in search of the kill Tuesday in Game 4 against a Mavericks team that looked frustrated and dejected toward the tip of Game 3.
“We obviously know the job’s not done, nevertheless it’s a superb feeling to know that we got here and got a win,” Stephen Curry said after Game 3. “We are able to play with house money on Tuesday and take a look at to get it done.”
Ending a series quickly is at all times worthwhile — it allows time for players to rest, injuries to heal and coaches to organize — nevertheless it appears much more crucial for the Warriors given what’s transpiring on the opposite side of the bracket. The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are in the midst of a bloodbath, with the 2 teams exchanging vicious blows like Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago. Here’s a fast sample of the injuries which have already affected the series:
- Jimmy Butler was only capable of play the primary half of Game 3 on account of knee soreness.
- Jayson Tatum suffered a nerve impingement in his shoulder and briefly went to the locker room in Game 3.
- Marcus Smart missed Game 1 with a foot sprain, then played through what looked like a severe ankle injury on Saturday and is questionable for Game 4.
- Kyle Lowry missed the primary two games of the series with a hamstring injury.
- PJ Tucker left Game 2 early with knee inflammation.
- Robert Williams missed Game 3 with knee soreness.
- Al Horford missed Game 1 on account of health and safety protocols.
That is not even mentioning Tyler Herro, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, who’ve all appeared on the Heat injury report throughout the series. With the physicality on display, and the undeniable fact that the battle seems destined for seven games, it’s hard to assume either team coming out with a full, healthy roster.
The Warriors, however, have two key bench players, Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II, who’re out for at the very least one other week while Otto Porter Jr. left Game 3 with a foot injury, but for essentially the most part they have been capable of stay healthy. That is no easy task when your team’s core players — Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — are throughout 32 with playoff mileage approximating the circumference of Jupiter and up to date injuries they’re still working through.
“It is very essential,” Thompson said of doubtless getting extra rest before the NBA Finals. “We wish to be whole going to the following round.”
The primary game of the NBA Finals will probably be on June 2, so if the Warriors complete the sweep on Tuesday they’ll have eight full days of rest. Meanwhile, if the Eastern Conference finals goes to seven games, the winning team will only have three days off before the beginning of the Finals.
The Warriors have already shown what they will do with a rest advantage this postseason. They dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, which gave them 4 days off before the beginning of the Western Conference finals. The Mavericks only had two days off after an emotional Game 7 win over the Phoenix Suns, and were blown off the court by a rested Golden State team in Game 1 — much more evidence suggesting that the Warriors would greatly profit from a sweep.
Very first thing’s first, nevertheless — the Warriors must win on Tuesday. With a veteran group, they surely know the way worthwhile those extra days of rest can be, in order that they’ll likely come out with a singularity of purpose in Game 4.
“Being one win away from the Finals means absolutely nothing,” Green said after Game 3. “You’ve gotten to win another game, and that game is not gonna be easy. So we have gotta be sure that we are available in with an excellent higher focus level than we did tonight. … Closeout games are at all times the hardest. We gotta come out and win the sport. They are not gonna give it to us.”