May 18, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) is fouled by Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) during the first quarter of game one of the 2022 western conference finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors routed the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, winning 112-87. But while the decisive final score is notable, the play of Dallas star Luka Dončić was particularly eye-opening.

Entering the series, there were genuine questions about how Golden State would guard Dončić. Prior to the game on Wednesday, a photo circulated of Luka drinking a beer. And while it was actually taken the day before, NBA fans still thought that the beer to Luka would be akin to spinach for Popeye. That was not the case.

If you’re cheering for the Warriors to beat the Mavericks, you liked what you saw in Game 1.

Dončić was also only 3-of-10 on three-pointers and 5-for-8 on free throw attempts.

Golden State’s defensive effort was praised by their coach, Steve Kerr, as well as basketball fans watching the game.

Of course, there is something to remember. This is one game. Dončić had a poor effort in Game 2 against the Phoenix Suns as his Mavericks fell down 2-0. That series ended up just fine for Dallas. That may or may not happen again here but it’s unlikely that Luka will continue to struggle so mightily.

As bad as Game 1 was for Luka and the Mavericks, it’s just one game. And Dallas has been down this road before in the postseason, losing Game 1 in the second round to Phoenix and the first round to the Utah Jazz. If Luka can find his form again, we may look at this game as a simple bump in the road.

But the Mavericks will need Dončić’s best effort. If Game 1 isn’t simply a blip, this series can be simultaneously very long and very short for them.

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