The Dallas Mavericks’ Game 4 win wasn’t a display of strategical genius by Jason Kidd and his brain-trust of assistant coaches.

Dallas just went back to doing what got it here — hitting threes and playing defense.

In the 119-109 win, Dallas shot 46 percent from three, while holding the Golden State Warriors to a pedestrian 19 percent from three through the first half — before a late run in the fourth quarter from the Warriors bench unit brought the team’s shooting percentages to a more-respectable 48 percent from the field and 35 percent from three.

“The guys came out no different than Game 3 and Game 2,” Kidd said. “We came out making shots. They are going to play zone most of the game and we are going to capitalize on threes.”

Though things got frosty late in the game — with Golden State cutting Dallas’ lead to eight points with three minutes left to play — Dallas’ offense held late because it did its work early in building a lead championed by a 3-point assault.

“It’s a game of runs,” Kidd said. “We did pretty good in the first three. They went on a run at the start of the fourth. We’ve been there before.”

Who sparked Dallas’ 3-point fury 

Behind Dallas’ rally in Game 4 was a familiar face — Dorian Finney-Smith. He scored 23 points on 69 percent from the field and made four threes, nearly upstaging his Game 4 performance against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.

“Everyone in that locker room feels like we have more basketball to play,” Finney-Smith said. “We made shots and got stops. I feel like we’ve been getting great looks — just got to keep shooting it with confidence.

“If we were going to lose, I was going to go out shooting.”

Often, watching Finney-Smith, onlookers are reminded of the journey and process he’s gone through to reach this stage — the Western Conference finals. He grew up scraping and clawing for anything he’s ever had. His mama, whom he talks about often, sacrificed to put her son in a position to play the game he loves.

The same game that changed both of their lives.

“My mama worked at Church’s Chicken my first few years in the league,” Finney-Smith said after signing a $55 million contract extension in Dallas earlier this season. “I tried to get her to quit… Now I’m glad she can just kick up her feet and chill.”

So, NBA playoff games must pale in comparison to life. Crucial Game 4’s must pale in comparison to his overall journey. Maybe that is the reason he always pulls his best tricks out of the hat when no one is expecting, much like a veteran magician or master of deception towards a crowd of viewers.

Bullock’s noticeable contributions 

To aid in the ferocity and never-say-die attitude of Finney-Smith was Reggie Bullock. After a Game 3 that saw him miss every shot he took (0-of-10), Bullock poured in 18 points and six 3-point makes. After practice, Bullock promised Dallas wouldn’t lose another game. And truth be told, Dallas can’t lose or this series is over. So when he — and Finney-Smith — played with a desperation that was palpable throughout the team, its leader, Luka Doncic, took notice.

“When they make shots, it’s tough to beat us,” Doncic, who tallied a 30-point and 14-rebound double-double, said. “Those guys are the keys to our wins.”

Heading into Game 5

The biggest challenge now comes in translating Game 4’s performance to the Bay Area. Dallas’ role player performances haven’t traveled well in this year’s NBA playoffs — outside of Game 7 against Phoenix.

“It’s going to take all of us,” Finney-Smith said.

It may take all of Dallas and then some. But all postseason, Dallas has said it wants to be the first team to “do something special.” With the series sitting at 3-1, it now has a chance to do so. 3-0 can feel impossible. 3-1 has been done before. And as Finney-Smith said when asked about how Dallas will climb back into this series, “we will just take it one play at a time.”

When Kidd was asked the same question, his answer echoed a similar sentiment.

“It’s just one game at a time,” Kidd said. “We have to continue to take care of the ball and make shots.”

Making shots got Dallas here. Now, the season rests on making enough to steal Game 5.

Related Dallas Mavericks reading 

“AtoZ Mavs: Dallas does more when Luka does less.” 
“Mavericks: Down 3-0, Dallas’ small-ball lineup looks doomed.” 

Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports