for this game

Mavericks avenge playoff defeat, down Warriors

Nov 9, 2007 - 8:19 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Whether or not it offers any relief following last season's playoff demise, the Dallas Mavericks can claim they have temporarily figured out the Golden State Warriors.

Jason Terry scored 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 22 to power the Mavericks past the Warriors, 120-115, on Thursday.

Last season, the Warriors became the first eighth seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in a seven-game playoff series when they toppled the powerhouse Mavericks in six games. Dallas, which posted a league-best 67 wins, seemed destined to play in the NBA Finals until they were upset by the underdog Warriors.

Appearing to play with the poise they lacked during the playoffs, the Mavericks continued to keep Golden State at bay when they needed to as the Warriors were able to only take one fourth-quarter lead at 101-100.

What made that unusual is that Dallas never led by more than five points throughout the final quarter.

"Anytime you can beat a team that's beaten you six times (in the playoffs), there's definitely some satisfaction and something that we needed," Terry said. "If we lose that game, then we're still thinking about it. It's not the championship or anything like that but, for us, it definitely helps our confidence."

The win was just Dallas' third victory in its last 12 games against Golden State, breaking a five-game regular-season losing streak against the Warriors.

"We've been scratching our heads and pulling our hair out about trying to stop this team," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "They're not a 'Cinderella' team, so every night you've got to play against them. But the main thing is you can't pull your hair out trying to stop them."

Trailing, 118-115, with seven seconds remaining, Baron Davis freed himself and attempted a wide-open, potential game-tying 3-pointer that came up just short. Devin Harris collected the rebound and was fouled immediately by Al Harrington.

"I think we got a little fortunate at the end," Nowitzki said. "You don't want to give a hot man like Baron Davis a clean look like that at a three, and it almost looked like he had it, so we got a little lucky there at the end."

Harris hit both free throws to account for the final margin, which was symbolic of the entire game. The Mavericks hit 26-of-30 attempts from the free-throw line while the Warriors were able to convert just 16-of-30.

"That's the way they play, they play hard and at a rapid pace," Terry said. "(It's a) good thing they did miss those free throws and we came out with the win."

"It's definitely a good win," Nowitzki said. "Obviously, they were winless and they made shots today. Their crowd was in it. Definitely at the end, (it was) a tough game but a good win for us."

Davis scored 37 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 27 to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who lost five games in a row to open the season for the second time in the last four seasons.

"I don't mind people counting us out, who cares?" Davis said. "I believe in my teammates and I know they all believe in me, and we believe in our coach and this system is going to work.

"Because in the long run, when teams get tired we're not going to be tired. We're going to be fully manned and we're going to be able to run teams out of the gym."