Why Dallas Mavericks should be favored over Warriors in Western Conference Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Why Dallas Mavericks should be favored over Warriors: 3. Matchup edge

The Mavs have had the Warriors' number in the Luka Doncic-era. Golden State reached the NBA Finals in Luka’s rookie year, but they split two matchups with the Mavericks during the regular season. Over the next two years, Dallas won five of the six meetings as the Warriors slipped out of the playoffs behind injury-riddled seasons from their stars. Not much changed this season, though.

The Mavericks won three of the four meetings as Luka averaged 31.5 points and 9.0 rebounds against the Dubs. The closes game was a six-point win by Dallas in San Francisco. Fans know Doncic raises his game when the stakes are highest, and he knows the Warriors' championship pedigree. The 23-year-old superstar is pumped to face Golden State, and it brings the best out of him.

The Mavericks have defended Warriors superstar Stephen Curry incredibly well this season as he averages just 20.0 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting from the field and just 29.4 percent on his free throws. Yes, it is a small sample size, but Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith both played outstanding against Curry as they forced him to take tough shots.

The Mavs just shut down Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Can they repeat that defense on Curry and Klay Thompson? It worked during the regular season as Dallas took three of four from the Warriors. Expect Doncic to hunt matchups against Curry as he tries to wear down the Warriors star in the series.