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Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is zero match for Golden State dynasty

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Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors have dunked all over the Dallas Mavericks in their Western Conference Finals playoff series. The Warriors lead the series, 3-0.

AP

Watching Luka Doncic embarrass the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 seduced us into thinking he is ready to do something that his team is not.

The Dallas Mavericks are good and are now in the tier of teams that brag, “We are soooo close.”

So close.

So, so close.

And, yet …

On Sunday night at the American Airlines Center, after Sir Charles Barkley rode in wearing a cowboy hat on a poor horse, the Golden State Warriors showed the Mavericks just exactly how much ground they need to make up to win a title.

Not sure depressing is an actual distance, but geometry was never my thing. Same for science. Math. Spanish. Latin. Attendance.

The Warriors won quite easily, 109-100 in Game 3 over the Mavs, and lead the Western Conference Finals, 3-0.

“The first three quarters, I played very bad. That’s on me. I’m still learning,” Doncic told the media in attendance after the game. “I think after this season is done, whenever we are, I’m going to look back and learn a lot of things. This is my first conference finals in NBA. I’m 23, man. I’m still learning a lot.”

Take two things from the paragraph:

1. He’s not lying.

2. He knows this done and done.

This series should end on Tuesday night at the AAC in Game 4. Would be nice if the Mavs “steal one” at home, but they don’t need to.

This series was over once the schedule was set, and we were too dumb to see otherwise.

The Mavericks are close. Close enough to see just how far they are from Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

They need a map. A boat. Maybe Jeff Bezos’ rocket. And a few more players.

What they really need is for the Warriors’ run to end. The Mavs may ultimately be the team that ends it, but it’s not happening this year.

The Warriors are this generation’s Chicago Bulls, right down to their two-year window where Michael Jordan opted out so he could he take batting practice in Double A Birmingham.

The Bulls won every NBA title from 1991 to 1993, and Jordan took some time off. He returned, and they lost in his first playoffs back because he wasn’t in basketball condition yet.

They won the next three titles, from 1996 to 1998.

The Warriors are following a similar, if more difficult, path.

The Warriors reached every NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019. They won three of those five.

The only reason they didn’t win all five is because Cleveland’s LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were historically good, and they came back to beat the Warriors in 2016.

In the Warriors’ 2019 Finals series with Toronto, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson suffered major injuries.

The Warriors missed the Finals in 2020 and ‘21 because of injuries to Thompson and Curry.

The roster is healthy, and the Warriors are doing what they did when this dynasty started in 2014.

The good news for Luka and the Mavs is they don’t look like they will follow the same path of the 1990s’ Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, etc.

Luka’s timing is better than that of Reggie Miller, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and a handful of other Hall of Fame players whose résumés don’t include NBA titles because of Jordan’s Bulls.

The Warriors’ run won’t last too much longer.

Klay Thompson is 32 and, while he doesn’t look quite right, he is good enough to provide 20 points per game.

Draymond Green is still Draymond Green. Put him on another roster, and he’s a nice player.

Put him with coach Steve Kerr, and with Curry and Klay, and Draymond looks like a future Hall of Famer.

With the Warriors, forward Andrew Wiggins looks like the player who was the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, rather than just another guy playing for big money with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Stephen Curry makes this all possible, and he’s 34. He has, maybe, one more year in those legs to make a Finals run.

Luka and the Mavericks ran into history.

They are are close, but beating the Suns in seven seduced us into believing something they are not, which is good enough to end the NBA’s latest dynasty.

This story was originally published May 24, 2022 6:00 AM.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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