After their huge Game 7 win over the No. 1 Suns last week, Luka Doncic and the Mavs looked to have major momentum on their side heading into their West Finals series against the Golden State Warriors. In short order, though, Steph Curry and Co. made it clear that Dallas had entered a whole new arena.
Led by Curry’s 21 points, the Warriors had seven players hit double figures in a top-to-bottom effort that resulted in a 112-87 win for the club. More than anything, though, it was the team’s defense that shined in the contest, as the Mavs were held to just 36% shooting from the floor and 22.9% from deep.
In particular, the Warriors’ work against Luka Doncic — who scored 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting while committing seven turnovers — was an eye-opener.
And while it was definitely a team effort on Luka, former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins made an enormous impression in leading the charge.
Klay Speaks Out on Wiggins’ Defense
The Warriors threw a variety of looks at Doncic during the contest, but Wiggins’ was the point-man throughout. He even picked the Slovenian sniper up full-court as part of the Dubs’ plan to keep him off-balance.
After the game, Klay Thompson — himself a former All-Defensive Team pick — was raving about Wiggins’ ability to hold Luka in check.
“He was moving them puppies tonight,” Thompson said. “That’s why he was the No. 1 pick. You can’t teach that athleticism. You can’t teach that length. You can’t teach his timing. I’m just happy the world is getting to see who he really is, and that’s an incredible wing player, and he will be like this for the next 10 years.”
For his part, Wiggins indicated that he was no worse for wear after turning the heat up on Doncic during the game.
“I don’t really get too tired,” Wiggins said when asked if defending Luka had worn him out. “I’m locked in, I’m motivated and when you see it work or I feel like it’s helping us play better, it just motivates me to do it more. I’m not tired or nothing… You know, it’s adrenaline. I just feel good.”
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Mavs’ Kidd Gives Props
As tracked by NBA Stats, Doncic was 4-of-10 from the floor when guarded by Wiggins with three turnovers and just one assist to go with 12 points. It’s an incredible defensive line given that the 2022 All-Star spent 42.8 partial possessions checking him during the game.
Wiggins’ fans and teammates weren’t the only ones who recognized as much, either. During his postgame presser, Dallas coach Jason Kidd was similarly impressed by what he was able to accomplish.
“Yeah, they did a really good job, Wiggins picking him up full-court,” Kidd said. “They were box-and-one, went zone. But they did a good job. Give them credit. Wiggins did a really good job. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that.
“We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”