Warriors vs. Mavericks Game 4 Preview: Will Golden State Complete Sweep?

Joe Dellera previews Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Mavericks that will be played on Tuesday, May 24.

Warriors vs. Mavericks Odds

Warriors Odds +1.5
Mavericks Odds -1.5
Over/Under 215.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Warriors secured a third straight victory to start off the Western Conference Finals, and now are on the brink of a return to the NBA Finals.

Can Luka Doncic help the Mavs mount a comeback and push this series to five games, or will the Warriors complete the sweep?

Let’s break it down.

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Curry’s Drives Helping Warriors’ Offense

The Warriors have dominated this series in large part due to their flexibility on offense and defense. One of their role players, Otto Porter Jr. (foot) is listed as questionable for Game 4, so that may impact their rotations a bit.

The Warriors have a +14.2 Net Rating this round and are powered by a 120.5 Offensive Rating and 106.3 Defensive Rating — the best marks in the Conference Finals.

They’ve done this despite a 15.3% turnover percentage, which is even greater than their regular-season mark of 15% (second-worst in the NBA).

One of the big developments for the Warriors in this series has been Steph Curry’s ability to drive with the basketball. He’s generating great looks, and the defense simply cannot stop him. He’s averaging 28 points per game on 49.1% shooting, including 4.66 3s per game.

The drives are incredibly effective, and Curry has a 64.7% eFG% on attempts from less than 10 feet.

These drives are a bit atypical for Curry, and it’s throwing Dallas’ defense in disarray. The Mavs are so concerned with keeping Curry off of the 3-point line that they’re giving up high-percentage looks at the rim.

His points prop is set at 27.5 for Tuesday’s game, and he’s cleared that in the last two outings.

Part of the reason Curry has been able to get these drives is due to scheme, but the Mavericks are also tired. They’ve played almost the maximum number of postseason matchups — plus against tough opponents — and now they’ve dropped three consecutive games to this perpetual movement offense that the Warriors use.

The Warriors are constantly moving, cutting and passing to generate good looks on offense, and the Mavericks are basically playing a six-man rotation. Those minutes and miles are catching up, and if you are not perfect when defending the Warriors, you don’t stand a chance.

Can Mavs Shoot the Ball Better?

The Mavericks have their backs against the wall after dropping three consecutive games, and now need to win four in a row to advance to the NBA Finals.

One of the primary issues Dallas has had in this series is attacking Golden State’s zone defense. It’s stymied the Mavericks’ attack and Luka’s ability to break down the defense.

Even though Dallas is taking an absurd 52% of its shots from 3-point range during this series, its only managed to make 33.3% of them, per Cleaning the Glass.

The Mavericks have been unable to get clean looks. Their shooting difficulties — coupled with their 42.1% Rebounding Rate and 18.2% Offensive Rebounding Rate — does not allow them many second-chance opportunities.

Dallas is at a clear size disadvantage, and without additional opportunities, it cannot make up for its poor shot-making overall. The Mavs are scoring just 101.3 points per game during this series.

Warriors-Mavericks Pick

Historically, it’s been profitable to fade teams down 0-3 in the NBA Playoffs. Those teams are 20-30-3 ATS and just 14-39 SU in this spot since 2005.

The sample size shrinks drastically if you limit it to just the Conference Finals, but there, teams are just 3-4 SU and only once has the team been favored (the 2013 Memphis Grizzlies lost to the San Antonio Spurs).

The Warriors have won convincingly each game, with margins of nine, nine and 25 points. Now, in this must-win scenario, the Mavs are favored by 1 point.

When teams are in must-win scenarios, it generally means that something has gone wrong. Although the Warriors may lack a bit of motivation to close out this series on the road, they are 5-2 straight up with an average margin of six points when looking to complete a sweep since the 2015 playoffs.

The Warriors have continuously adapted and evolved over the course of this series and the Mavericks have struggled to adjust. While a sweep may seem surprising, given the pedigree and the past performances in this series, the Mavericks’ run looks to be done.

Back the Warriors to complete the sweep while they await the winner of Heat-Celtics with a significant rest advantage.

Pick: Warriors Moneyline (-104)