Wednesday, April 17

Steph Curry, Golden State finally look title-worthy

SAN FRANCISCO — Had Game 1 of the Warriors and Mavericks’ playoff series come in round one instead of the Western Conference Finals, things might have been different.

Instead, this series looks lopsided in favor of the Dubs after only one contest.

The Warriors didn’t just beat the Mavericks on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, they very well could have broken their code and exposed it as simplistic.

In all, Golden State’s win was emphatic and unimpeachable. For a Warriors team that has flaws shown even in its best playoff performances to this point, there’s not much to pick on after Wednesday’s 112-87 win.

The Warriors’ offense was strong in both transition and the half-court. They were able to build a 12-point first-half lead despite woeful offensive play from Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — both of whom found their games in the second half.

The Dubs’ defense was sterling. Dallas had a number of open looks from distance early in the contest — they shot 3-of-19 from beyond the arc in the first quarter — but Golden State tightened up on the side of the court as the game progressed and the Mavericks looked downright flummoxed as the Warriors tossed a new defense at them seemingly every time Dallas walked down the court.

Neither smoke nor mirrors were needed for Golden State to win Wednesday. They played Dallas straight up and steadily built a 30-point fourth-quarter lead.

It was classic Warriors. Curry (21 points) only had to play 30 minutes; Draymond Green (a plus-25 in the game) only saw 28 minutes of action.

It was title-worthy play.

And it was the kind of performance that seemed so far away for the Dubs only a few days (and certainly a few weeks) ago.

Now, to the Warriors’ credit, they entered the postseason without pretense — they knew they were a work in progress. Their goal — expressly stated — was to peak at the right time.

Yes, the Warriors were going to have to figure it all out on the fly. There was a level of experimentation happening in real time in the postseason, all while the Dubs faced two tough matchups in Denver (elite center play) and Memphis (young and physical).

They put together just enough to survive and advance.

But let’s be real: heading into these Western Conference Finals, Golden State had shown as many flaws as strengths.

Perhaps that long-sought peak was Wednesday.

Maybe it’s yet to come.

But there’s no question the Warriors are a different team now than when they started in these playoffs.

“We’re really connected as a team,” Jordan Poole, who was marvelous off the bench with 19 points, said after Game 1.

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