Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry Credit: Bill Moore photo

The Western Conference Finals began last night in San Francisco as the No. 3 seed Golden State Warriors hosted the No. 4 seed Dallas Mavericks in a best-of-seven series. Golden State’s 34-year-old Stephen Curry, a two-time league MVP and three-time champion, and the Mavericks’ 23-year-old Luka Doncic, who is rising on the list of the game’s best players, bring star power to a series in which the winner advances to the Finals.

The Warriors and Mavericks met four times during the regular season with the Mavs taking three. Game 2 of the West finals will be tomorrow in San Francisco, and Games 3 and 4 will take place in Dallas Sunday and next Tuesday.

The Warriors got past the talented but young No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies 4-2 as the Grizzlies were without their spectacular point guard Ja Morant for Games 5 and 6. Before suffering a bone bruise in his right knee late in Game 4, the Warriors were unable to contain Morant.

They’re likely to have the same issues with Doncic, who dominated the Phoenix Suns, including scoring 27 points in the first half of a shocking 123-90 Game 7 victory on Sunday over the West’s No. 1 seed. The home crowd was stunned as they watched their team fall behind by as much as 46 points to the Mavericks. The Mavs win was a disappointing ending for the Suns, who had the NBA’s best regular season record at 64-18. They led the series 2-0 before the Mavericks forced Game 7 in Phoenix.

“I’m really happy. You can’t get this smile off of my face right now,” said Doncic after the game. He finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds, and controlled the pace of the series. Dallas also received solid scoring from former Brooklyn Net Spencer Dinwiddie, who added 30 points on 5-7 shooting on three-point attempts. Jalen Brunson, who will be an unrestricted free-agent this summer, contributed 24.

The Warriors are looking to move on to their sixth finals appearance in the last eight seasons while the Mavs are chasing their first since defeating the Miami Heat in 2006.

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