Steph Curry has put the Mavs in an unsolvable bind

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s only one game in a best-of-seven series, but after the Warriors dismantled a Dallas defense in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday, it’s fair to wonder what the Mavericks do next.

It took less than 30 minutes of play, but Steph Curry has put this Mavs defense in a bind that lacks a clear solution.

Dallas’ defense came into this series with plenty of buzz. After all, their tight rotations and excellent gameplays caused the NBA’s best regular-season team, the Phoenix Suns, fold in Games 6 and 7 of their semifinal series.

The Mavericks tired 37-year-old Chris Paul in the last round and then double-teamed Devin Booker when the 25-year-old guard had the ball.

Because Paul is just a small player without his trademark first step — incapable of breaking down a defense or getting up a shot at an elite level — and Booker, despite once being this team’s point guard, lacks the ability to play-make with the ball in his hand, the Mavericks’ defensive tactics effectively turned the Suns into the sorry operation existed before Paul’s arrival two seasons ago.

So of course Dallas was keen to try the same effective defense against the Warriors with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

But the Warriors don’t play the high pick-and-roll style of the Suns or Dallas’ first-round opponent, the Utah Jazz, and Golden State’s incisive cuts, back screens and ball movement carved up Dallas like a slow-cooked ribeye in Game 1.

“I think every series has a different makeup, right, and this team has its very clear distinct differences than the past two we’ve played,” Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie said after Game 1. “They’ve been the best team in the league since probably 2015… This [series] is going to be completely different with their off-ball movement. They don’t rely on pick-and-rolls, like you said, like the other teams have. Just getting adjusted and getting ready for Game 2.”

But what will that adjustment be?

I don’t see one that will work.

(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

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