Editor’s note: Hey everyone! So, as you may have heard, the NBA has set its return date for July 31, so we’ll be doing SIM SZN two times a week going forward, on Sundays and Wednesdays. Thanks for sticking with us, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this simulation!
After upsetting the LA Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals, the Dallas Mavericks came into Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with the confidence that they’d be able to pull off another upset at Staples Center — this time against the Lakers. While they came close, the Lakers were able to outlast the Mavericks, beating them 115-106.
From the very beginning of the game, the Lakers were getting whatever they wanted at the rim, but at the same time, they were leaving the Mavericks’ shooters open from behind the 3-point line. Dallas shot 39.5% from 3-point range on 48 attempts. Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic made four 3-pointers each, while Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. each made three. Comparatively, Anthony Davis led the Lakers with three 3-pointers, and only one other player — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — scores more than one.
Their lack of perimeter shooting and perimeter defense can be attributed to the fact that Danny Green sat out of Sunday’s game with a hip related injury. Green has been the Lakers’ leader in 3-point percentage (37.2%) and second in 3-point attempts per game (4.9) in the postseason. James leads the team in 3-point attempts with 6.4 attempts per game.
Luckily for the Lakers, the Mavericks 3-point shooting gave out in the fourth quarter, particularly in the front court where Porzingis and Maxi Kleber were spacing then floor. As their legs got heavy, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were able to punish them in the pick-and-roll. Davis ended the game with 37 points, James ended the game with 11 assists. James also contributed 26 points on 10-15 shooting from the field.
If Game 1 was an indicator of how the series is going to go, the Lakers just have to save their legs for the fourth quarter. We’ll see how the Mavericks responded in Game 2 on Wednesday.