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The NBA Playoffs Continue to Advance Toward The Championship

The Orlando Magic were winners in last night’s NBA Draft Lottery and will have the number one pick in the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23. The order of the remaining top-five picks is the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and Detroit Pistons. After getting two lottery picks in last year’s draft, Orlando is already loaded with young talent and will be a team to watch in the future.

The Magic have the number-one pick for the fourth time in the lottery era, with their last top pick being Dwight Howard in 2004. Although many options are available, no single player stands out as the definitive number one selection in this year’s draft. Potential players that could be selected first overall are Duke forward Paolo Banchero, forward Jabari Smith from Auburn, Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, and guard Jaden Ivey from Purdue.

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Tonight will be Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. Here’s a preview of what to expect in tonight’s matchup.

Dallas Underdogs Again Versus Warriors

The Mavericks and Warriors meet for the first game of their series tonight in San Francisco. Dallas returns to this round for the first time since 2011 after their upset road win against the top-ranked Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the conference semifinals. The Warriors are favorites in this series after they surpassed the Grizzlies in the last round after Memphis lost Ja Morant for the final two games.  

The difference recently for the Mavs has not only been the play of Luka Doncic but several role players who have stepped up to help him with the offensive load. Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie must continue to contribute to the effort in this round against the Warriors if they have any chance of winning this series.

The Mavs have also played well on the defensive end, holding teams to 34% shooting from three-point range. The only teams better at defending beyond the arc are Boston and Miami, who are battling for the title in the Eastern Conference, where the Heat have taken an early 1-0 lead. 

The Warriors will probably let the role players for Dallas take their chances on offense while they focus on limiting Doncic. They can live with another 30-point outing from Dinwiddie as long as they put as much pressure on the Mavericks’ point guard as possible. Teams are shooting just 43.9% from the field against Golden State and their second-ranked defense this season.

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Warriors Have to Protect the Ball

One area the Warriors still need to fix is the number of turnovers. They are averaging 15 turnovers per game this season. This is second in the league behind the NBA’s worst team, the Houston Rockets. Although they have produced enough points on offense to counter their lack of ball protection, they must turn this number around to succeed against the Mavericks.  

Golden State is looking for its first trip to the finals since they lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games in 2019. They are looking for their fourth title since 2015 and seventh championship overall. Dallas last played in the finals in 2011, where they defeated the Miami Heat in six games to win their first-ever NBA championship.

Golden State will win a close contest at home to take Game 1.

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Erik is a writer and a sports nut who has had the good fortune to be able to experience a wide variety of world sports action up close and personal. He enjoys staying on top of the changing world of athletics and capitalizing on his writing skills to offer a unique take on what's going on in the ever-changing athletics ecosystem.

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