Five Predictions for the Western Conference Finals

05 / 17 / 2022 By Ally Mielnicki

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Mavericks +180

Warriors -220


Luka will post a 50+ point game and win series MVP

Electrifying. Unstoppable. Brilliant. Those are just a few words to describe the performance Luke Doncic has displayed this postseason. It was only a few weeks ago when it was unclear if Luka would return to the court after suffering an injury in the last week of the regular season. Not only was he able to return to lead the Mavericks against the Jazz in the First Round, but Luka single-handedly propelled his team to defeat the defending Western Conference Champion Suns. The young guard has asserted himself as one of the league’s best players, and he’s accomplished that without any help. If the Mavs prevail against the Warriors, there’s no doubt Luka will be crowned MVP. He can do it all.

Jason Kidd will outsmart Steve Kerr

Perhaps the most significant move of the offseason for the Mavericks was hiring Jason Kidd as head coach – and it proved to be the right decision. Kidd has shown his coaching acumen, as evident in the Mavs’ vast improvement on defense. He also is responsible for creating a more player-friendly clubhouse within the Mavs’ locker room. Now, Kidd will counter Stever Kerr, who has three Championship rings as a head coach, to his name. However, this is not the same team that Kerr coached in the Finals previously. There is no more Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson has struggled to stay consistent following the ACL tear he sustained in the 2019 Finals. If Kidd can continue to maneuver the Mavs to play the way they did against the Suns, then Dallas stands capable of pulling off the series upset.

Home-court will not benefit the Warriors this round

The Chase Center has yet to house a Warriors championship team. Since the team began playing in the arena in 2019, this is the first season it has hosted a postseason game. In the past, the Oracle Arena housed the Warriors and was notorious for shutting down opponents’ play. So far this postseason, the Chase Center has lived up to its predecessor’s reputation. In 6 home games, the Warriors are undefeated while dropping 3 of 5 on the road. This series, however, will prove to be different. Luka and the Mavs will be just as unfazed playing at the Chase Center. If the Mavs can split the first two games and take over home-court advantage, the Warriors will struggle to win games in Dallas to advance. 

The Warriors will struggle from the 3-point line

So far this postseason, the Warriors are shooting 36.4% from the 3-point line. The Warriors may be in trouble if Dallas steps up its defense as the team has all playoffs. One of the key strengths of the Warriors is their ability to score from 3 at will. If the Mavericks shut down Steph Curry and Klay Thompson from behind the arc, the Warriors will struggle to consistently put up points as nearly half of their field goal attempts are from beyond the arc. Take away the 3, and the Mavs will have the advantage.

Jalen Brunson will prove he’s a legit No. 2

Most of the talk surrounding the Mavs this postseason has been Luka’s dominance. However, along with all the well-deserved praise and acclaim Doncic receives for his play, there is also the question of which one of his teammates will step up and be the No. 2 he needs. Enter former Villanova star, Jalen Brunson. In the 13 postseason games he has played this year, Brunson averages 22.9 points per game, second on the team behind Luka. After Brunson, the next leading scorer on the Mavs is Spencer Dinwiddie, who averages 13.2 points per game. Brunson has emerged this postseason as the go-to when the ball is out of Luka’s hands. If he can consistently score 18-25 points per game, Luka will finally have the Robin to his Batman.


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