The Mavericks weren’t supposed to be in this position. To be in the Western Conference Finals after blowing up their team at the trade deadline speaks volumes of the superstar play and growth of Luka Doncic, their locker room leadership, and the growth of Kidd as a coach since he served as an assistant coach under Frank Vogel after head coaching stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee.
Now that they’re staring down a 3-0 series deficit after losing Sunday’s Game 3 to the Warriors, 109-100, Coach Jason Kidd elected to keep the Mavs’ unexpected ascension to the Western Conference Finals in perspective during his postgame presser.
“This is just the beginning of this journey,” Kidd told reporters postgame. “I know you guys have us winning the championship before the season started. And that’s a joke if you didn’t get it. This is a lot bigger than just this one game or this series. This is huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here.”
He also credited their loss to getting outrebounded and not being able to hit enough of their three-point attempts. For the night, Golden State rebounded Dallas 47-33, with Kevon Looney leading the Warriors with 12 boars, followed by 11 from Andrew Wiggins (27 points). Doncic (40 points) led the Mavericks with 11 rebounds, but no other Maverick corralled more than five boards.
Heading into a do-or-die Game 4, the Mavs will have to kick up their physicality inside in order to win the rebounding battle. They will also need their snipers like Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber not to go 0-12 from the three-point line. The decision to attack the boards and create second-chance buckets will be pivotal when they’re not hitting shots, and the Mavs will need all the extra possession they can get to extend the series.
“I’ve said we’re going to live and die by the three, but we’re also dying by not getting rebounds,” Kidd said, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News.
Game 4 of the WCF will be on Tuesday, with the Mavs hoping to avoid the sweep. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit.