Klay Thompson shimmied his way to 32 points and the Golden State Warriors advanced to their sixth NBA finals in the past eight seasons by beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.
Thompson scored 19 points in the first half, including a three-pointer that he punctuated with teammate Stephen Curry‘s signature shake as the Warriors raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way. Andrew Wiggins added 18 points and 10 rebounds, Draymond Green scored 17 points and Curry had 15 points and nine assists for Golden State.
Luka Doncic overcame a slow start to score 28 points for the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie added 26.
After missing the playoffs in 2020 and 2021 in back-to back injury-plagued seasons, the Warriors are returning to a familiar stage. They are the first team to make six finals appearances in an eight-year span since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls had a pair of three-peats from 1991-93 and 1996-98.
Golden State will host the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Boston and Miami on 2 June in Game 1 of the NBA finals. The Celtics hold a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 at home on Friday night.
Golden State are now 9-0 at the Chase Center this postseason, tying the 2017 team for the the most consecutive home wins in a single postseason in NBA history.
The star this game was Thompson, who sat out the past two seasons with injuries but showed flashes of his old self in this clincher. After making just seven three-pointers in the first four games of the series, Thompson had eight this game. He gave the Warriors a 13-point lead in the first half when he hit one from the corner before dancing and added two early in the third quarter for a 23-point lead.
Dallas cut a 25-point deficit down to eight in the final minute of the third quarter but couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth.
Doncic has typically been a playoff star. His 32.7 points per game in his first 27 playoff games were second best to Jordan’s 33.4 ppg among players with at least 10 playoff games.
But he had a rough start in this elimination game against Golden State. He shot 2 for 10 in the first quarter, with his eight misses tied for the most in the opening quarter of a playoff game since LeBron James missed all nine of his attempts in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta in 2015.
Doncic was held to six points in the first half, his lowest opening half of his postseason career, on 2-for-12 shooting before finding his stroke in the third quarter.