for this game

Ellis, Warriors top Mavericks, create three-way tie in West

Mar 31, 2008 - 6:07 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Monta Ellis scored 30 points to lead six players in double figures for the Golden State Warriors, who came back from a sluggish start to post an important 114-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

Baron Davis added 21 points and Andris Biedrins had 16 points - going 6-of-6 from the free-throw line - and 14 rebounds.

With the win, the Warriors (45-28) moved into a three-way tie with the Mavericks (45-28) and Denver Nuggets (45-28) for the final two playoff spots in the wild Western Conference with nine games remaining.

"A win is a win at this point," Davis said. "We played well enough to win. We played good defense, we rebounded well, we scrambled. We did everything that you have to do on a back-to-back with a good team that's waiting, a playoff contender. We did everything necessary to win and that's why we were able to win."

Golden State led by eight points after three quarters, and Davis started the fourth quarter with a layup before the Mavericks rallied and got the lead down to 95-91 following Brandon Bass' three-point play with 6:26 left to play.

But that would be as close as Dallas could get. Davis nailed a clutch 3-pointer and, after the Mavericks again cut it down to four, Kelenna Azubuike drilled a shot from the top of the arc to give Golden State a 105-98 advantage with 3:47 remaining.

Later in the contest, Ellis drove to the paint and dished the ball off to Biedrins for the easy dunk and a 113-104 bulge to seal the win with 47 seconds to go. It was the 37th straight game that Golden State scored at least 100 points.

"They were a challenge for us," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I thought they stayed right in there and somehow he kept them close. I was never comfortable throughout the game even when we were 12 ahead. I just wasn't comfortable.

"But maybe I'm making too much out of the importance of all these games, but this one ... when we go on our next road trip we have a pretty tough road trip and it was important to get this one and get off to the right start."

The Warriors, who still have not lost back-to-back games since January 2-4, embark on a four-city, six-day road trip against San Antonio, Dallas, Memphis and New Orleans before their next home game vs. Sacramento on April 8.

"These nine games are all games that we can win and all games that we need to put our focus and our mind to and get ready for the playoffs," Davis said. "If we're gonna be a playoff team then we gotta treat these last nine games as our playoffs."

The Warriors started slowly, missing their first 10 shots and trailing, 12-0, before scoring their first basket on a putback slam by Al Harrington with 7:56 remaining in the first quarter. Dallas jumped out to that lead by making its first six shots.

The Mavericks built their lead to as many as 13 but Golden State chipped away and eventually took a 27-26 advantage at the end of the first when Stephen Jackson made a pair of free throws.

The Warriors never trailed for the rest of the game, dropping the Mavericks' record to 0-10 against winning teams since the arrival of point guard Jason Kidd.

"It's how it's been for us in this little stretch we're in," Kidd said. "We're right there we just can't get over the hump and so the big thing is we have to stay together. Now we're in a little situation that if the playoffs maybe had come a little bit earlier and each game is huge, so we have to regroup and be ready to play the Clippers tomorrow."

Golden State had an eight-point lead at the half and took its largest advantage at 69-55 early in the third quarter before the Mavericks went on an 8-0 run to get Dallas within six points.

Later in the quarter, after scrambling for a loose ball, Jason Terry just threw the ball toward the top of the key where Kidd was waiting and made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 75-70 with 4:11 left in the third.

But Golden State again answered, pushing the lead back up to as many as 12 points before settling for an 84-76 bulge after three quarters.

Without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has been sidelined with a left high ankle and knee sprain since March 23, Dallas dropped to 1-2. The All-Star is out indefinitely.

"It's not the easiest thing to do," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "If you think about it, if the Spurs lose (Tim) Duncan or Cleveland loses LeBron (James). Anybody whose best player is out is not easy. We haven't made any excuses. We've been coming out here and trying to play hard and trying to win and it's just the moral victories aren't any good right now. We've got to try to score one more point than our opponent."

Josh Howard scored a game-high 36 points and Kidd nearly had his 100th career triple-double with 13 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds for Dallas. Bass added a career-high 21 points off the bench.

"I'm just trying to win games," Howard said. "I'm not worried about what people are saying outside of the Mavericks organization. I'm just trying to win games and stay in the playoff hunt."