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Davis, Jackson help Warriors stun Mavs in series opener

Apr 23, 2007 - 6:35 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Baron Davis and the Golden State Warriors took advantage of Avery Johnson's experiment.

Davis had 33 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists as the Warriors posted a 97-85 victory over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in Game One of a Western Conference first-round playoff matchup.

Stephen Jackson scored 12 of his 23 points in the first quarter and Jason Richardson added 13 for Golden State, which was the only club in the league to sweep Dallas in the regular season.

The Warriors now have won seven of their last eight meetings against the Mavericks. It was Golden State's first postseason win since April 25, 1992, and its first road playoff victory since May 8, 1991.

In a surprise move, Johnson inserted Devean George into the starting lineup in place of center Erick Dampier to try and match up with Golden State's quicker starting unit.

"It was something that we've evaluated every time we play them, our fives just could not keep up," Johnson said. "They start two point guards, two twos and a three. They put us in a really big bind and we just haven't been able to make them pay on the offensive end when we come down the floor. I didn't think the small team did that bad to start the game."

"(Golden State's) so good they make you adjust," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "With (Al) Harrington at the five, they spread the floor and you've got to honor all of their shooters."

Warriors coach Don Nelson was not surprise by Johnson's decision to go with a smaller lineup.

"I laughed when I heard they were going to start a big center," Nelson said. "I know when they played Phoenix a few years ago, they matched up with Phoenix and I thought we'd get the same thing. I smiled, but it wasn't unexpected.

"I'm going to start the same way because that's what we've got. I play eight guys and I don't have any secrets. We're going to go play and go out and do what we do and they can come at you in a lot of different ways."

Johnson's dramatic decision backfired throughout as the Warriors held the Mavericks to just 29 percent (15-of-51) shooting from the field for a 38-38 tie at intermission.

Davis took over in the third quarter, netting 19 points - including 3-of-3 from 3-point range - as the Warriors carried a 72-66 advantage into the decisive quarter.

"I had been missing a lot in the first half," Davis said. "I just lost myself to the game, really. Guys told me I needed to get in rhythm. I came out pressing to try to get in rhythm. Once I got into rhythm, I just stayed locked in and I knew I had a job to do and that was score the basketball in the fast break and try to make assists and try to make plays for us to be successful."

A leading MVP candidate, Nowitzki struggled with just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

"Early I had some good looks," Nowitzki said. "We missed tons of layups in the first half. Instead of a tied game, we should have been up at the half by a couple of points. It was a tough loss. We're going to watch some film and execute a lot better Wednesday."

Johnson did not expect a lackluster showing by Nowitzki.

"I was very surprised. I did not expect it," Johnson said. "His (Nowitzki) shots didn't fall. They are doing a good job of hanging all over him and we're just going to have to make strong moves and get to the basket and make our shots. But how many nights do you see him have like this? Not very often."

Dallas closed within 80-78 but it would get no closer as Davis' jumper sparked an impressive game-ending 17-7 run, highlighted by Davis' drive and kick to Jackson for a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.

"Our defense was allowing us to get stops and get a couple of fast breaks and open things up in our transition game," Davis said. "We can come down and play in transition, not so much the fast break, but just play early and quick, we get a lot of shots. We've got a lot of great shooters. We were able to do that in the fourth quarter and stretch that lead."

Josh Howard recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds and Devin Harris scored 19 for the Mavericks, who shot 35 percent (30-of-85) overall.


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