Mavericks vs. Warriors Game 1 Preview: Back Rested Golden State at Home

Mavericks vs. Warriors Game 1 Preview: Back Rested Golden State at Home article feature image

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors, Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

  • The Warriors are home favorites in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks.
  • The Warriors have a rest advantage and haven't lost at home in the playoffs.
  • Joe Dellera breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Mavericks vs. Warriors Odds

Mavericks Odds+5.5
Warriors Odds-5.5
Over/Under214.5 (-110/-110)
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Dallas Mavericks pulled off a stunning upset against the reigning Western Conference Champions, the Phoenix Suns, and now face off against the Golden State Warriors to earn a trip to the NBA Finals.

Can Luka Doncic outduel the Splash Bros in Game 1, or will the Warriors get off to a hot start?

Mavericks Face a Step Up in Competition this Series

The Mavericks have pushed through the Western Conference and now face their toughest task in the Warriors. One concern for the Mavericks is they have played 13 of 14 possible games during the Playoffs. Although this team is young, they've played a ton of playoff basketball so far.

Jason Kidd has done an excellent job coaching this team, and the Mavericks have excelled throughout the postseason with elite defense and game plans. The Mavericks have the second-best Point Differential of all playoff teams, +5.9 per 100 possessions, with elite marks on both offense and defense, per Cleaning the Glass.

This is more impressive considering Utah had the best Adjusted Offensive Rating in the NBA, and the Suns were second in Adjusted Net Rating with top-five marks in Offensive and Defensive Rating on the regular season. These were impressive series victories, but we should consider the serious flaws of both teams.

The Jazz were tied to a very specific defensive scheme that required them to play drop coverage with Rudy Gobert on the floor – something the Mavericks could exploit with their elite perimeter shooting. The Suns were at a significant math disadvantage due to their reliance on 2-point shots and their heavy reliance on the pick-and-roll, which is fine, but not against the Mavericks who can switch everything defensively and continuously attack from 3-point range.

Here, the Warriors present a different challenge. The Mavericks will still perform offensively with Doncic, but the key to this game will be if they can handle the perpetual motion that the Warriors offense will hit them with on defense. From a pure size perspective, both of these teams' preferred lineups are generally undersized, and while the Mavericks might be able to switch against the Warriors, they are much more fluid in their off-ball movement than the Jazz or Suns.

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Warriors' Versatility Will Be Key

The Warriors took care of business against the Grizzlies in six games and have a significant rest advantage over the Mavericks, who had a tough seven-game series against the Suns. One piece of good news for the Warriors is that over their off days, Otto Porter Jr. (foot) has been removed from the injury report.

The Warriors are a nightmare for opponents to face because of their perpetual motion on offense, which works in perfect harmony with their excellent cutting and creation that's generally facilitated by Draymond Green. The Warriors have the depth that can be used to replace rotation players but also to adjust to their opponents' gameplay, and this separates them from some other playoff teams that are married to a specific type of play.

The weak points defensively are the lack of a true center (which may not matter much against Dallas) and that Steph Curry and Jordan Poole can be liabilities on defense, although Curry has played well this postseason.

One thing that is notable is how the Warriors adjusted against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies worked incredibly hard to keep the Warriors off of the 3-point line, and this opened up the interior for easy cuts and layups. It was not until Steven Adams entered the lineup that the Grizzlies could stop this.

The Mavericks can do a few things to handle this. If they play Dwight Powell rather than Maxi Kleber, the Warriors can match his minutes with Kevon Looney, which would help their defense against the Mavericks' dribble-penetration and give them more opportunities to matchup hunt in pick and roll.

If the Mavericks use Kleber to spread the floor on offense and make Looney unplayable, it's likely that the Warriors will run their Death Lineup with Draymond at the five, which has been lethal offensively. The weakness there is the Warriors' defense takes a hit, but Kleber would struggle matching up with Green.

The Warriors' ability to switch their scheme without dramatically disrupting their rotations is an advantage.

Mavericks-Warriors Pick

The Warriors have a significant rest advantage heading into the Conference Finals, and this has historically been an edge heading into Game 1 of a new series.

Historically, teams haven’t performed well in the following round after a Game 7, going 32-49 (39%) straight up in the ensuing Game 1, and there is an average Point Differential of -4.02 points.

This trend meshes well with the Warriors' historical performance in Game 1 since 2015, as they are 20-2 SU in Game 1s and 8-2 ATS as single-digit home favorites in Game 1s. They are not an easy adjustment, and this coupled with the rest advantage gives them a significant edge here.

I fully expect the Warriors to take care of business in Game 1 and start off the Western Conference Finals with a 1-0 series lead and a cover.

Pick: Warriors -4.5

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 13, 2024 UTC