Described as a “bad basketball player” just two years ago, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins had the last laugh on Monday (AEST) with an all-time playoff performance to help the Golden State Warriors to a 3-0 lead over Dallas in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
Wiggins, who finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds in the Warriors’ 109-100 win, felt the NBA world into meltdown for what will likely go down as the dunk of the year.
With the Warriors nursing an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter after Dallas edged its way out of a 12-point deficit, Wiggins produced the play of the game, and potentially play of the year, when he dunked on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic .
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The only downside of Wiggins’ thunderous dunk was the play was ruled an offensive foul, holding back his celebrations before a Warriors coach’s challenge overturned the decision, making for a successful two-point basket.
It was a moment that highlighted just how incredible the former No.1 draft pick’s transformation has been since he was traded to the Warriors in 2020.
While earning an NBA All-Star nod for the first time in his career this season was special, so too are his playoffs numbers, averaging just over 15 points per game and nearly two three-pointers per game, on 42 per hundred three-point shooting.
It was only two years ago that big name US basketball pundit, Nick Wright, who boasts nearly 500,000 Twitter followers, labeled the Warriors’ trade to send out All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell in a package for Wiggins, who was owed $134 million over three years, a disaster.
“Andrew Wiggins is a bad basketball player. He’s owed $95M over the next 3 years, starting next year. It’s unspeakable the Warriors did this. … It’s over for them now. We will never see Steph in another NBA Finals.”
The opinion trended on social media following the win, leaving Wright to concede it was his “most regrettable television take”.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry scored 31 points and Klay Thompson scored 19 with a pair of big fourth-quarter three-pointers as the Warriors moved within a victory of a return to the NBA Finals, three years after the end of a run of five consecutive trips that yielded three championships.
Golden State, which swept Portland in its most recent West finals in 2019 before Toronto won the title, goes for the sweep in game four in Dallas. No team has rallied from 3-0 down to win an NBA playoff series.
Doncic scored 40 and beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-footer that got the crowd going with the Mavericks again at home trailing 2-0, as they did against top-seeded Phoenix before winning the West semi-final series in seven games .
But that shimmy-inducing bucket was a blip on an otherwise rough night from three-point range for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13 of 45.
Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-range specialists for Dallas, missed all 12 of their 3s combined and were 0-15 overall. Both went scoreless, offsetting Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points off the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.
– with AP
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