Golden State has been here before. This version of the Dallas Mavericks clearly hasn’t.

So, what started as a promising Game 1, quickly turned into a lesson by the veteran Warriors on winning in the Western Conference Finals. Golden State beat Dallas 112-87, in San Fransisco Wednesday night, to take a 1-0 lead in a series that may be a no-contest, and it’s no fault of Dallas’ — the Warriors can lean on experience and championship pedigree to carry them through.

“They are a team out there that’s won a championship,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We don’t have to look too far to see how we can get better. This is one game, they did their part.”

If Game 1 was a classroom, with Golden State as the teacher, Dallas failed the in-class assignment. Badly.

“It’s tough to beat Golden State,” Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored 17 points, said. “We just got to make the adjustments and move on.”

How Dallas lost 

Where things first went wrong for Dallas starts with Luka Doncic. The typically steady guard chalked up one of his worst performances of the postseason. He scored 20 points on 33 percent field goal shooting (6-18) and seven turnovers.

“They did a great job,” Doncic said of Golden State’s defense. “I got to be better for the whole group.”

Doncic was forced into uncomfortable situations, as Golden State showcased a litany of varying defensive coverages that clearly bothered the Mavericks’ star guard. Doncic scored two points in the second half and registered a box-score plus-minus of minus-17.

“They did a really good job, with [Andrew] Wiggins picking [Doncic] him up full court,” Kidd said. “They threw a couple of looks — the zone and box-and-one — they were physical. And we have to get back to being physical.”

When Doncic couldn’t get it going, the effects bled on to the rest of the team. As a whole, Dallas shot 36 percent from the field and 22 percent from three. It was the team’s worst shooting performance of the playoffs. And it was clear in the player’s on-court demeanor that Golden State was playing with confidence and Dallas was playing in uncertainty.

“We had a lot of great looks that just didn’t go down,” Kidd said. “If we get those looks in Game 2, I think they will go down.”

The shot variance — Dallas missing several open looks — may have played a part, but from near-start to finish, Dallas looked out-classed, out-manned and flat-out schooled.

Golden State is the disciplinarian and Dallas is the naive student in water too deep to swim. That’s what happens when experience meets the up-start. The up-start is edgy, different and fun, but experience always tends to win out in the end. And between Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors possess more than enough experience to teach the frisky up-start Mavericks a brutal lesson in gutty wins — or two.

“It starts with realizing where we can be better,” Jalen Brunson, who scored 14 points, said.

What Dallas can learn heading into Game 2

So, now that Dallas was taught a lesson, what can it learn heading into Game 2?

One: isolation basketball doesn’t work against a team like Golden State that boasts a high level of continuity. Golden State will make Dallas’ offense pay for role players choosing to Doncic watch. In order to win Game 2, the others have to be active participants within the heliocentric Doncic-based system, moving and finding the soft spots in Golden State’s defense.

Two: Dallas needs to continue to play when things aren’t going well. Dallas goes as its 3-point shooting goes. When shots aren’t falling, at this point in the postseason, Dallas needs to have a secondary identity. For a long stretch in the playoffs, that secondary identity has been toughness. In Game 1, Golden State out-toughed Dallas. And in Game 2, Dallas needs to fight back, instead of cowering in uncertainty the same way it did for three quarters on Wednesday night.

“We have to get back to being physical,” Kidd said, “not just on the defensive end, but on the offensive end.”

Related Dallas Mavericks reading 

“AtoZ Mavs: How the Dallas Mavericks shocked the NBA world against Phoenix.” 
“Dallas advances. to the Western Conference finals, thank Spencer Dinwiddie.” 

Feature image via Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports.