Warriors: How The Lil' Dubs Sank Dallas
(originally written 2/8/21)
(Disclaimer: I wrote the buns of this article immediately after the game, but did not finish the meat until three days later. Because I was so proud of and fascinated by Golden State's 2/4/21 win at Dallas, I've decided to post said article as if it were "fresh off the grill".)
In the days leading up to the Golden State Warriors' face-off at the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday 2/4, four friends and I engaged in what ended up being a hilarious text-message thread. The gist of it? The two tallest of us should end our unofficial hoops retirement and suit up for the center-depleted Warriors—aka "The Lil' Dubs".
As the James Wiseman and Kevon Looney of our circle back in the day, surely it was our duty to serve, so to speak. Nevermind that we're both pushing 41. Nevermind that neither of us has played competitive basketball in at least two years. Nevermind that though we both played upfront within our athletic circle, we're still just 6'2" and would in no way suffice as legitimate stand-ins for Wiseman and Looney.
We were gonna do it.
We even had a plan. Both of us happen to match the respective skin tones of Wiseman and Looney, so maybe if we got the arena staff to dim the lights, no one would notice anything amiss. Plus, with it being Black History Month, we figured if anyone did notice anything amiss, they would cheer us on for trying to better ourselves and make history!
There's been some comically depleted Warriors teams in the past—remember that night about 11 years ago when they were down to five total players (one of whom was ancient Devean George) and had to continue using fouled-out players, resulting in repeated technicals? I can't recall them ever having NO big men, however. There was always, at minimum, an Ognjen Kuzmic lounging at the end of the bench.
Ironic, since just a couple seasons ago they had several big men they simply didn't use.
As it turned out, Golden State didn't need us, Wiseman, Looney or any real center at all in order to crush the Dallas Mavericks on their home floor Thursday night. With F Andrew Wiggins representing the tallest Warrior at 6'7", the team shot 57% from the floor and 51% from deep in a 147-116 win. They held Dallas to 41% shooting, and 32% after halftime.
Warriors G/F Kelly Oubre's previous career scoring high was 39 points last season at New Orleans, 12/5/2019.
I've watched this game twice now, end to end, and I still can't compute how the Lil' Dubs outrebounded a Dallas team (45 to 42) that started 7'3" Kristaps Porzingis and 6'10" Maxi Kleber, while bringing in three other giants off the bench.
While none of those bigs are exactly known for controlling the glass, that's partially because they're usually competing on the boards with OTHER BIGS, not a bunch of small forwards and point guards.
Give credit where it's due; time and time again, Golden State wanted it more.
Early on, the Mavericks were not only in the game, but they were within a couple of shots of opening it up! A three by G Luka Doncic with about 4:00 to go in the 2Q put Dallas up by eight, and—as strange as it sounds—maligned G Kelly Oubre was the main thing keeping Golden State within striking distance. He was sinking three's from the corner, nailing pullups, dunking, even putting in a righty runner as Dallas tried to pull away.
Dallas still led the offensive showcase 76-74 at halftime, but despite Porzingis catching fire from beyond the arc in the 3Q, Golden State took control—especially after Porzingis went to the bench with his 4th foul at the 4:43 mark with Dallas down 100-93. The Warriors promptly went on a 15-2 burst; fired-up G Damion Lee just about came out of his skin after converting a three-point play on Doncic underneath!
Dubs F Juan Toscano-Anderson—let's just say he didn't inspire much confidence at the outset. His first pass was an out-of-bounds, Shaqtin' A Fool contender. He then badly missed a corner three. But in the end, JTA finished 6-of-8 from the floor with 14 points—including five quick in the 1Q as Dallas heated up—eight rebounds and five assists. A fine, little-used inside move on Porzingis in the 3Q accounted for one of his buckets, and he blocked multiple shots before and after the whistle, in true Kevin Garnett fashion.
G Stephen Curry didn't dominate, but he still poured in 28 points in just 30 minutes, burying a 1Q, right-wing three that seemed to go right through the soul of Mavs F Tim Hardaway Jr. F/C Draymond Green contributed 11 points, mildly impressing me by sinking all five of his free throws and supremely impressing me by sinking a lefty hook shot early in the 3Q! Where has that been all these years, Mr. Green? Do you also have a UTEP Two-Step or a DreamShake nobody knows about?
The story of the night and the star of the game, however, was Oubre.
As all us GSW fans are acutely aware of, Oubre hasn't shot well for the overwhelming majority of the season—hell, he's even missed three dunks I can immediately reference. Oubre entered the game shooting 38% and 31% away from the rim, according to BasketballReference.com. He stood at 23% on (his bevy of) threes.
And though his past two games were encouraging, they still didn't fully wipe away the stench of Oubre's 33% FG shooting from January 20-28.
In short, lest we endure further disappointment, us Warriors fans weren't counting on much in Dallas from the 25-year-old.
But the kid shined brightly on this night, showing a versatile set of skillz long advertised, but seldom seen since his acquisition from Oklahoma City in November. With a wide-open 4Q three from the top of the arc, Oubre reached a new career-high with 40 points! (He didn't bask in it long, swatting the 7'4" Boban Marjanovic at the rim on Dallas' next possession.)
Oubre's seven three-pointers also topped his previous season high of four, and matched his career high also set last season. His efforts were needed, as Wiggins had his hands full with Doncic and finished just 7-of-18.
So the Warriors now stand at 12-10, with another Mavericks clash set to tip off in two days. Wiseman and Looney will still be out; we still don't know the status of F Eric Paschall, who woke up Thursday with a swollen knee and joined the aforementioned duo on the sidelines in Dallas.
But as long as the Lil' Dubs have Curry and his 28 PPG, Green in full playmaking mode (15 assists vs. Dallas) and Oubre and/or Wiggins able to chip in on both ends, they can't be counted out against a reeling Dallas team riding a seven-of-eight losing stretch.
A FINAL REQUEST: What on earth was Warriors PG Brad Wanamaker doing posting up Mavericks G Trey Burke early in the 2Q? You are Brad WANAMAKER, not DAUGHERTY. Never do that again.