Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns will take place on Sunday. It’s game one of the Western Conference Finals, and the winner will face the Golden State Warriors in the championship series finale. The loser has the luxury of beginning their summer vacation earlier than the other person.
There haven’t been many Game 7s in the history of the Dallas Mavericks. Because they were founded in the 1980s, they have only competed in seven winner-takes-all matches. The Boston Celtics, for example, have competed in 33 Game 7s throughout their history.
It’s Game 7 time for Dallas, and here’s a look at how the Mavericks have fared in those situations:
1988 Western Conference Finals
After a dramatic playoff upset the previous year, the 1987-88 Mavericks were determined to make amends. The Mavericks of 1986-87 finished the regular season with a 55-win record and were the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but they were defeated in the first round by the No. 7 seed Seattle SuperSonics in four games.
That team returned in 1987-88 with one goal in mind—to win a championship or go out with a whimper. Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre, Sam Perkins, and James Donaldson were all on the team.
They were the third-best team in the league at the end of the regular season, and they breezed through the playoffs in the first two rounds. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties at the time, proved to be a stumbling block for them.
The Mavericks forced a Game 7 with a 105-103 victory in Dallas in the sixth game of the series (sound familiar?). The Mavericks had high hopes of bringing their winning ways back to Los Angeles, and for a time, they did. At halftime, Dallas was behind 54-53, and after the third quarter, it was down 87-79.
The Mavericks had no answer for Magic Johnson in the fourth quarter. They lost their first-ever Game 7 117-102, their worst loss in team history.
2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals
In 2002-03, the Mavericks were on the verge of making history of the worst kind. Despite having taken a 3-0 lead in the series, the No. 3 seed Dallas Mavericks lost three straight games against the No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers. That’s how far down by two in the fourth quarter they were in Game 7.
Dirk Nowitzki’s 31-point performance saved the Mavericks. Twenty-six points from Nick Van Exel were made on a 10-of-15 shooting. After the game, Michael Finley observed, “This was a physically and mentally draining series.
” Sacramento will be unable to match the challenge we encountered here, according to the governor. As the Mavericks were about to discover, this was very true!
2003 Western Conference Semifinals
Game 2 of the 2003 playoffs between the Mavericks and Sacramento Kings saw the Kings’ finest player, Chris Webber, suffer a knee injury. Still, the series was a back-and-forth until Game 7 in Dallas, where the clubs switched games.
Nowitzki led the way with 30 points and 19 rebounds for the Mavericks. All the rest of the team stepped up as well, with Van Exel’s 23 points leading the way. Neither Steve Nash nor J.J. Finley scored more than 18 points, but Nash had 13 assists. Raja Bell tallied a team-high 12 points as well.
The Dallas Mavericks lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals in six games. The San Antonio Spurs would go on to win the NBA finals.
2005 Western Conference Quarterfinals
In the opening round of the 2005 playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks met the Houston Rockets. Despite an unusual season in which head coach Don Nelson resigned in March, Dallas made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. Until the Mavericks lost the first two games of the series against the Rockets, Avery Johnson’s tenure as an assistant coach seemed to be going well.
That didn’t stop them from securing a Game 7 by winning three of the next four games. Nowitzki had saved them before, but this time, it wasn’t him who did it.
Tracy McGrady was held to a 10-of-26 shooting percentage by Josh Howard and Jason Terry. Despite Nowitzki’s 14 points, the game was a snoozer. The Mavericks cruised to a 116-76 victory to clinch the series victory. They would lose to the Phoenix Suns in the next round.
2006 Western Conference Semifinals
The Mavericks wasted a 3-1 lead in the series and a 20-point lead in Game 7 but still managed to win the series against their in-state rivals the Spurs. San Antonio has beaten Dallas in the previous two meetings.
Even though this was the year that would change everything. You’ve experienced them all. To the hoop, it was a Nowitzki drive. When the drive was halted by a Manu Ginobli foul. Key block from Nowitzki on the other side. A tense overtime session at the office.
It was a 119-111 victory for the Mavericks, who advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Then, they’d beat the Suns and advance to the NBA Finals, where they’d face the Golden State Warriors. It’s unnecessary to go into detail about what happened afterwards.
2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals
The Dallas Mavericks faced the San Antonio Spurs in a Game 7 for the second time in eight years. However, this time around, the situation was a little different.
After losing to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in 2013, the Spurs were the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and determined to win a championship. They were a feisty No. 8 seed who was just glad to be there in the tournament.
As a result, a thrilling back-and-forth series between two of the NBA’s finest teams ensued. Some of the finest players in both teams’ history were on display throughout the game, which featured a legendary shot and several outstanding performances.
That didn’t stop the Spurs from winning Game 7 119-96, as the Mavericks couldn’t even get a shot off against them. Five games later, they would win the NBA Finals.
2021 Western Conference Quarterfinals
The Mavericks’ next Game 7 would be seven years hence. This would be the second time they’ve faced the Los Angeles Clippers in as many games. With Game 6 in Dallas, the Mavericks have a 3-2 lead in the series. To force a Game 7 in L.A., the Clippers needed a 45-point outburst from Kawhi Leonard in Game 6.
Luka Doncic was the star of the show in Game 7 with 46 points and 14 assists. The Clippers’ balanced attack, on the other hand, was too much. Paul George added 22 points to Leonard’s 28. Adding 23 points was Marcus Morris. Only Luka Doncic scored more than 18 points for the Dallas Mavericks. There was a 126-111 victory for the Clippers.