Warriors embarrass Mavericks, take shocking series leadApr 28, 2007 - 8:08 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson and the Golden State Warriors may be headed toward a monumental upset.
Playing in front of a raucous crowd, Richardson scored 30 points and Baron Davis added 24 as the Warriors dismantled the Dallas Mavericks, 109-91, in their first home playoff game in 13 years.
Andris Biedrins collected 10 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which played at a frantic pace, blowing Dallas off the court with relentless penetration. As a result, the Warriors have taken a shocking two-games-to-one lead in the first-round series.
"It was our best game of the series," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "Our one problem was rebounding in the first half. We did end up outrebounding them for the rest of the game. I felt it was necessary to start Andris tonight because I wanted to ease the burden for Al (Harrington)."
Game Four is here on Sunday, and Nelson is ready for the Mavericks best shot.
"I do expect Dallas to play their best game next game," Nelson said. "Right now, we are playing the best ball of the season. We had great support from our fans and we just need to keep our guard up for the rest of the series. This was a breakout game for us."
Golden State forward Matt Barnes does not want the Warriors to get ahead of themselves.
"(The Mavericks) are still the best team in the league," Barnes said. "They still have to be beat. So every night we have to come in with the mindset that we are playing a monster ... David and Goliath. And right now we are getting the upperhand on them.
"We respect them very much, but we don't fear them. They are a good team but we don't fear them. We are very confident in what we can do. We have a great coach and a great team, so you know we are going out there every night with the mindset that we can beat them."
After starting the season with four straight losses, Dallas went on to win a franchise-record 67 games en route to the league's best record - tied for sixth-best in NBA history - and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Mavericks also reeled off three impressive winning streaks of 12 games or more, including a 17-game run from January 27-March 11.
"The pressure is going to be on us because we won 67 games in the regular season," Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki said. "We said all season long that our goal is a championship and everything else would be a disappointment."
But Golden State - which defeated Dallas three times in the regular season - has reversed roles in this best-of-seven series. Executing coach Don Nelson's frenetic run-and-gun offense to perfection, the eighth-seeded Warriors have the Mavericks on their heels.
"We were just a step slow tonight," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "I just didn't see that look in our guys' eyes tonight. We have to consistently get our swagger back.
"We have to get it quickly, and it better be consistent because it's hard to sit through a game like that and watch them get 52 points in the paint. We need to do a much better job than we did tonight."
Richardson led the charge, continually driving to the basket to take advantage of his startling athleticism en route to a 12-of-19 shooting performance.
"It felt good to get out there in front of our home crowd," Richardson said. "The first two games I was overanxious, trying to do too much, but tonight I was able to relax. Our guys are so unselfish."
Davis shot 9-of-18 from the field, seemingly entering the paint at will - even glaring at Nowitzki after a particularly impressive finish in the third quarter.
"Our style of play is very difficult to defend because we have five guys that can penetrate the lane and make plays," Davis said. "I just wanted to stay aggressive and go to the hole."
It seemed as though Davis was feeding off the franchise-record crowd at Oracle Arena. With each drive to the basket or smooth jump shot, the playoff-starved - but basketball savvy - Oakland crowd rose to a fever pitch.
"The crowd was great and we were just feeding off of them," Richardson said. "They just had a bad game tonight. We can't get too overconfident. We still have two games to win."
Clad in matching yellow tee-shirts reading "We Believe," Warriors fans watched their team run out to a nine-point lead after the opening period and never look back.
Golden State waited long enough for such a great performance. In their last home playoff game on May 4, 1994, the Warriors suffered a 140-133 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Hall of Famer Charles Barkley scored 56 points for the Suns in that contest.
On Friday, Stephen Jackson collected 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Warriors, who had five players score in double figures and shot 48 percent (39-of-81) from the field. Jackson was able to focus his energy on the court, unlike in Game Two.
The volatile forward was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Friday for his conduct after drawing an ejection on Wednesday. Jackson was tossed with 4:34 remaining in the fourth quarter of that game after picking up his second technical foul and grew increasingly angry, refusing to leave the court.
"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, but the good thing about this team is we stay humble," Jackson said. "We don't want to get too high because we felt good about winning Game One, and we came out Game Two too cocky.
"I think we are going to stay humble and enjoy this win, and hopefully come out next game with the same hunger and same attitude, focused to win the next game."
Nowitzki had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Josh Howard scored 20 for the Mavericks, who shot just 39 percent (31-of-80) from the field, including 4-of-15 on 3-pointers.
Nowitzki shot 7-of-16 from the field, but Jackson made him earn it.
"I just try and make Dirk work," Jackson said. "I know I can make him work, and I know I have a good chance of guarding him. So, I'm going to go out there and do my best every night and hopefully continue to do well against him."
GOLDEN STATE 109 FINAL
Apr 28 1:18 AM
GOLDEN STATE 89 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 28 12:41 AM
GOLDEN STATE 61 HALFTIME
Apr 27 11:47 PM
GOLDEN STATE 29 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 27 11:07 PM
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