NBA Western Conference Finals Game 4: Warriors poised to sweep their way into Finals

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TV: TNT, 9 p.m. ET

BetMGM line: Mavericks -1.5

After a thrilling conference semifinal round produced a pair of Game 7s, the West finals have crashed with a resounding thud. We have the peaking Golden State Warriors and outmatched Dallas Mavericks to thank.

History suggests the Mavericks are toast. That doesn't mean there's nothing to play for Tuesday. Can Dallas win for the home crowd?

3 Game 4 storylines

1: Warriors continue conference finals dominance

This Warriors' core featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green has reached the Western Conference finals six times. As of Tuesday, they're undefeated in their previous five appearances. Don't expect that to change. After taking a 3-0 series lead, history dictates that Golden State's coronation as champion of the West is a matter of when, not if.

In the NBA's 75-year history, 146 teams have taken a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven playoff series. Those teams have a 146-0 record of closing their series out. Of course, there's always a first time for everything. See the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Just don't expect Luka Doncic to pull off a David Ortiz act with a supporting Mavericks cast that doesn't include an All-Star and isn't up to the task against a superior Golden State roster.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after making a 3-point basket during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Stephen Curry and the Warriors continue to own the Western Conference finals. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

This Warriors' core has owned the conference finals with five straight trips to the NBA Finals from 2015-19. Through Game 3 against the Mavericks, they've posted a grand total of seven losses in six conference finals series. That includes a sweep of the 2019 Trail Blazers and 2017 Spurs. Will the Mavericks be next?

Three years and two devastating Thompson injuries later, the Warriors are playing again like they're in their collective prime, boosted by a supporting cast of Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins who would each be the second-best player for the Mavericks. There's no such thing as a sure thing in sports. But this is as close as it gets.

2: Can Mavs fend off a sweep?

The question now isn't whether Dallas can win the series, but whether it can avoid a sweep and score a win for a home crowd that has thus far enjoyed an unexpected playoff run. That is until crashing into Golden State.

No matter what happens Tuesday, this Mavericks postseason adds up to a success. After failing to win a playoff series since Dirk Nowitzki was crowned Finals MVP in 2011, the Mavericks have thrived behind their 23-year-old superstar as Doncic's procured his first taste of NBA playoff success. It's something to build upon in Dallas even as the Warriors expose a glaring need for a roster upgrade around Doncic.

A sweep sends a team into an offseason with an especially bitter taste. If the Mavericks are to avoid one and force a return trip to San Francisco, look for them to keep doing what got them here. That means hoisting up 3-pointers. A hot streak from deep early in Game 2 gave them their only glimpse of hope against Golden State. Supporting players like Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans are capable of sustained runs from long distance and could key a Mavericks win.

3: Draymond Green needs to avoid trouble

It seems like ages ago, but Green's flagrant 2 foul on Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke on May 1 still looms over this postseason. Golden's State's quest to have the infraction reduced to a flagrant 1 foul failed, meaning that Green's next flagrant 2 foul will result in a suspension. Two flagrant 1s would add up to the same result.

Short of injury, another flagrant 2 infraction would be a worst-case scenario for Green and the Warriors with a trip to the Finals all but in hand. We all know what happened the last time Green was suspended for a Finals game.

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