The Mavericks are going to have to make history to keep their season from becoming history soon.
They fell into the dreaded 3-0 hole in the Western Conference finals Sunday night as Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors smothered the cold-shooting Mavericks and took a 109-100 victory at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks shot just 29 percent from 3-point range, were outrebounded badly and gave up 18 second-chance points.
The Warriors led by a point after the first half and never trailed in the second. The Mavericks showed urgency in the fourth quarter when they actually started attacking the rim and cut the lead to 89-83.
But the Warriors scored the next six points, including Andrew Wiggins’ monster throw-down over Luka Dončić, a play that was originally called for an offensive foul on Wiggins but was reversed after Golden State challenged the call.
That took the wind completely out of the Mavericks and AAC. Dončić tried his best to provide heroics down the stretch. A 3-pointer with 1:49 left made it 104-96, and gave Luka 39 points (he finished with 40). But the time was running out, which it did before the Mavericks could complete a last-ditch rally.
Going down 3-0 in an NBA playoff series is like poison, pure and simple. Nobody has ever crawled out of that hole in NBA history and only a handful of teams that lose the first three games have rallied to force a Game 7.
Portland did it against the Mavericks in 2011.
But it does not happen often.
So scratching out a win on Sunday night was paramount. But it did not happen.
The Warriors take great pride in their prowess on the road, especially in the playoffs. They have had at least one road win in 25 consecutive series. It’s part of their DNA.
“They’re a great team in general but especially at home,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “And this is what it’s about. Generally, you got to win a road game to win a series. That’s usually the way it works. But for us, that’s been a good formula. ”
The Warriors got sensational nights from Steph Curry, who had 31 points and 10 assists, and Wiggins, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds. Klay Thompson added 19 points.
It looked like a great formula again, until the Warriors’ early 19-7 lead was erased by the Mavericks with a 31-12 surge that put them ahead 38-31 midway through the second quarter.
The stars were doing what stars are supposed to do. Dončić had 15 points at halftime, including a 32-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter that briefly energized the crowd.
But the Warriors were not going to sit idly by. Curry had 16 at the break and he got to the rim several times layups.
But both teams had trouble from 3-point land. The Mavericks and Warriors shot a combined 25 percent from long range in the first half.
The difference was that the Warriors were shooting fewer shots from beyond the arc as the Mavericks.
The Warriors crept away toa 67-56 lead late in the third quarter on the strength of an 8-0 scoring run before Spencer Dinwiddie drilled a 3-pointer. But the Warriors were making extra passes and their defense was causing big problems for the Mavericks.
When Jordan Poole picked off a pass from Luka, the Warriors got the fast break on which Reggie Bullock tackled Poole, who made the free throws for a 71-59 Golden State lead.
The Mavericks had a ton of work in front of them if they intended on avoiding the dreaded 3-0 hole in this series.