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3 Mavs most to blame after falling in 3-0 hole with Game 3 loss at home to Warriors

Luka Doncic, Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock, Mavs, Warriors

The Dallas Mavericks season should already be regarded as a success. In 2021-22, the franchise turned a corner and has grown into contenders much quicker than expected. Highlighted by their Conference Semifinals victory over the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns, the Mavs have put the league on notice.

Unfortunately, their success seems destined to come to a stop. The Mavericks now find themselves in a 3-0 series hole against the Golden State Warriors. The Mavs could not turn the tides around on their home court and suffered a 109-100 loss in Game 3. Dallas finds themselves with their backs against the wall and their season just one fateful game away from being put to an end.

3 Mavs most to blame after falling in 3-0 hole with Game 3 loss at home to Warriors

Luka Doncic

The leap the Mavs have made this season can be greatly attributed to the superstar rise of the 23-year-old. Luka Doncic is at the center of everything they look to do on the court and belongs in the conversation with the Grade A superstars of the NBA.

It is tough to put blame on a guy who racked up 40 points and 11 rebounds on 11 of 23 shooting. The tempo he plays at and the control he has over a game are extremely impressive. As great as Doncic is, the Mavs may have some deeper questions to look at regarding their isolation-heavy offense. This is the third straight postseason that Doncic has led the NBA in individual time of possession. The 10.0 minutes per game he handles the ball is nearly half what the Warriors average as a team (20.2 mins of possession).

The Slovenian certainly has the skills and has put up monstrous stat-lines, but there should be real concerns if this playstyle can equate to postseason success. Many people have complained about how Luka needs more help, but the style he plays with is not the easiest to complement.

Maxi Kleber

The 6’10 stretch big man started out the postseason red-hot. Kleber even shot 8 for 11 on three-point attempts in Game 2 in the opening round against the Jazz. He shot 16 of 31 (51.6%) overall in the opening round and knocked down some key shots in the Suns series.

Unfortunately, Maxi Kleber has gone cold since this time. He is just 2 for 14 (14.3%) on three-point attempts in the series with the Warriors. He was 0-5 in the pivotal Game 3 matchup. Hot and cold streaks are the nature of the game for shooters, but it is certainly coming at a poor time. Perhaps worse than the missed shots is it is clear he has become more tentative as the series progressed. Kleber passed up a few looks that he is expected to knock down in Game 3. The forward plays a key role in floor spacing and the Mavs need him to remain confident.

While this certainly doesn’t all fall on Kleber’s shoulders, the Warriors also dominated the rebounding battle in Game 3. Golden State had 47 total rebounds compared to the Mavs’ 33. The Warriors also had 14 offensive rebounds with Dallas only tallying seven. Allowing these extra possessions makes it extremely difficult to find a way to win.

Reggie Bullock

It was an exciting day for Reggie Bullock heading into Game 3. He was awarded the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award for the 2021-22 season. Bullock was rewarded for his impressive work with the LGBTQ community which was sparked by the tragic murder of his sister.

While it surely was a great day overall for Bullock, his play on the court for the Mavs was unable to match this. In 40 minutes of play, the former UNC standout was held scoreless. He shot 0-7 on three-point attempts and 0-10 from the field overall. Reggie Bullock has become a key member of the Mavs’ supporting cast and his poor shooting was greatly felt.

The shooting struggles were seen throughout the rest of the Mavs roster as well. Despite attempting 13 more three-pointers than the Warriors, Dallas connected on just two more. The Mavs were 13-45 (28.9%) on long-range attempts in Game 3. You can live and die by the three-point shot and the Mavs have found this out in this series.

Overall, the Warriors outshot the Mavs from the field, three-point arc, and free-throw line in Game 3. There is such little margin for error against this high-quality Golden State roster. Failing to capitalize on solid looks and allowing additional possessions will consistently lead to a loss in the matchup. The Mavericks have had a terrific season already this year and will do their best to climb out of the 3-0 hole, but it will be an extremely tall task ahead.