That small lineup the Golden State Warriors put on the floor Thursday night at American Airlines Center gave the Dallas Mavericks all sorts of problems.
Because of injuries, the Warriors only dressed nine players on Thursday, and none of them were taller than 6-7. But they were flying all over the court and creating numerous mismatches which they used to their advantage on their way to a 147-116 victory over the Mavs.
“With them being so small it created some unusual challenges, but those kind of challenges you’ve got to meet them,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “You’ve got to get back, you’ve got to get matched up.
“There’s going to be times when KP (7-3 Kristaps Porzingis) is matched up on (6-3) Stephen Curry in transition and we just got to stay in front of him and figure it out.”
For a little more than half of the game, the Mavs stayed toe-to-toe with the Warriors, and actually held a 76-74 lead at the half. But the Warriors outscored the Mavs 36-20 in the third quarter and 37-20 in the fourth quarter.
The Mavs (9-14) know all of that must change when they host the Warriors (12-10) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at AAC in a game that will be televised nationally on ABC.
“We had too many major lapses really from the beginning of the (third) quarter to the middle later portions of it,” Carlisle said. “A 16-point deficit in the third really tells the story of what happened in the game.
“There’s a lot of different kind of challenges with their size and quickness, but giving up (73) points and scoring 40 in the second half is not good. We’ve got to be way, way better.”
The Mavs hoped their size would have given them the edge over the Warriors on Thursday, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case.
“We were pretty big compared to them.,” Carlisle said. “(Maxi) Kleber is 6-10 and KP is 7-3, and then we had (6-10 Dwight) Powell and KP, I think, at one point (together on the court) for a little bit. And then we always had a conventional center out there.
“It’s something that, when I look at the film, I’ll take a look at it. But with their quickness and skill it’s hard to put an additional bigger guy out there that’s not used to guarding perimeter guys. That was one of our big challenges (Thursday).”
Green must be contained: The Mavs know they simply must find a way to contain forward Draymond Green on Saturday.
The NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, Green scored 11 points and collected a season-high 15 assists during Thursday’s win over the Mavs. And he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.
“He was very comfortable,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Green. “He was able to have air space and to see and to deliver passes and to deliver some thread-the-needle passes, and we’re going to have do a better job of getting ball pressure on him. He’s an unusual point guard power forward.
“The chemistry that he has with (Stephen) Curry creates a unique problem. When those two guys are on the floor and wheeling and dealing, it makes the other three guys on the floor better players. It’s part of the equation that we have to work on. We’re going to have to be more tied together, we’re going to have to have greater urgency with transition defense and sitting down and guarding, and this is a big challenge.”
Briefly: The Mavericks’ rematch after their loss on Thursday to the Warriors comes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. This one also will be on national television (ABC) after Thursday’s was on TNT . . . The Warriors had season highs in points, shooting and 3-point shooting on Thursday. If the Mavericks are looking to have a chance in the encore, consider this: The Warriors are 10-0 this season when they score 110 points this season. So don’t let them score 110.