The Warriors beat the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 to return to the NBA Finals

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With the Golden State Warriors returning to the NBA Finals, here are the key takeaways from their 120-110 win to close out the Dallas Mavericks in Thursday night’s Western Conference Finals at Chase Center.

The warriors win the West: With their Game 5 win, the Warriors have won the Western Conference in six of the past eight seasons and advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2019, when they fell in six games against the Toronto Raptors.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s so difficult to go to the final… It’s stressful, emotional, physically tiring, all that. For our team, our guys, especially the core group, Dray and Steph, Klay, Loon, Andre , to be a part of this six times in eight years, I don’t even know what to say. It just takes an enormous amount of skill, determination and hard work. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.

What makes this new finale so impressive for Golden State is that it comes after a two-year hiatus in the playoffs. Only three NBA franchises have gone from league-worst record to NBA Finals in three seasons. None have since the league expanded to double-digit team counts.

After giving up 20 3-pointers to the Mavericks on the road in their 119-109 loss in Game 4, the Warriors controlled Game 5 from start to finish. Golden State got off to a fast start, much like Game 4, but this time was able to sustain it for four quarters — the spoils of playing at Chase Center, where the team didn’t lose a playoff game.

The Warriors led 28-23 after one quarter, then beat the Mavericks 41-29 in the second quarter – led by Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole – to take a 69-52 halftime lead. Golden State extended their lead to 25 points in the third quarter, but then Luka Doncic woke up and Dallas came back strong to make it a 10-point game entering the final frame.

Sometimes in the fourth quarter it felt like the Mavericks had one last run in them, but the Warriors even played them 26-26 down the stretch. Consecutive 3-pointers from Thompson and Stephen Curry, second with 2:02 to go, froze the result.

Thompson takes over: Going into the first quarter, Thompson was averaging one shot attempt per minute. He let them fly like a man who wasn’t interested in flying to Dallas.

In the playoffs, Thompson was always at his best in Game 6 situations, but “Game 6 Klay” came a game early. Thompson finished with a game-high 32 points on 12-for-25 shooting (8-for-16 from 3-point range), with 19 points in the first half. On a night when Curry shot just 5-for-17 from the field, someone had to carry the offensive charge. Thompson did just that.

During the Warriors’ monster second quarter, it was Thompson who ignited an unlikely unit of himself, Poole, Moses Moody, Draymond Green and Nemanja Bjelica. He scored 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the period, 3-for-3 from behind the arc.

And with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter, he drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Warriors up 15 behind.

“I’m happy with Game 6 Klay, I don’t need another nickname,” Thompson said. “It’s nice not to have to bring him out yet. We have yet another very difficult series to play.

Curry’s ankle: Curry had to tighten his right shoe during a timeout early in the game after apparently wrapping his ankle. The team coaches worked on him, but he finally decided to stay and ended up playing 35 minutes.

It was a strange night for the Warriors star. Although he shot poorly and spent much of the game avoiding paint contact, he finished with nine assists – his most in a single game this series – and the Warriors were plus-11. with him in the field.

“He creates so much havoc on the defense, that even on a night like tonight when he’s not shooting the ball very well, he forces rotations and he frees other players,” Kerr said.

Curry had one of the biggest shots of the game late in the game, a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Warriors a 118-102 lead with 2:02 to go.

Now Golden State must wait to find out who their opponent will be in the Finals. The Boston Celtics have a chance to eliminate the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night. It doesn’t matter who wins this series or when, the NBA Finals begin Thursday in San Francisco as the Warriors have the home court advantage.

“We’re happy to be here, but it would help our legacy a lot if we completed the mission and won it all,” Thompson said. “We can be happy tonight…but tomorrow when this Game 6 comes around, I’m turning the page and scouting because we want to end this thing the right way and do it for the Dub Nation.”

CJ Holmes covers the Warriors for The San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @CjHolmes22

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