Mavericks 86 at Warriors 111
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson shot the ragtag Warriors right into the second round, capping perhaps the NBA’s biggest playoff upset with yet one more memorable performance on their home floor.
Davis willed the Warriors on one good leg, shaking off a strained hamstring to score 20 points, Jackson made a franchise playoff-record seven 3-pointers, and Golden State became the first No. 8 seed to capture a best-of-seven playoff series with a 111-86 victory over the NBA-best Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 on Thursday night.
Whoa, Nellie, what a shocker!
Coach Don Nelson’s emotional bunch of castoffs beat his old team by holding likely league MVP Dirk Nowitzki to eight points and 2-for-13 shooting, after he saved the Mavs with 30 points in their six-point Game 5 win Tuesday. The Warriors, making their first playoff appearance in 13 years, will open the second round Monday night at either Houston or Utah.
Jackson – who avoided a suspension for Game 6 after two ejections in the series – hit four 3-pointers during a decisive 24-3 third-quarter run and finished with a playoff career-high 33 points, while Davis also added 10 rebounds and six assists. He sat down with 2:19 to play, throwing his arms in the air to the fans who chanted "MVP!" When the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors hugged as confetti streamed onto the court.
"This is a great feeling, to make history, to upset a No. 1 seed and do it on our home floor," Davis said. "We came here and handled our business in the second half."
Andris Biedrins had 12 points and 12 rebounds, not to mention a handful of key hustle plays, Matt Barnes took advantage of his first start of the series with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and Jason Richardson added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Josh Howard scored 20 points and Jerry Stackhouse had 14 of his 20 points in the first quarter for the 67-win Mavericks, who along with volatile owner Mark Cuban had high hopes of going deep in the postseason after their remarkable regular-season showing.
The Warriors became only the third eighth seed to upset the No. 1 and the first since the opening round went from best-of-five to the current format. The Denver Nuggets (1994) and the New York Knicks (1999) are the only other teams to win a series.
After years of failure and their share of unsuccessful personnel moves, Golden State is suddenly as big in the Bay Area as Barry Bonds’ home run chase across the water in San Francisco.
The Warriors lured Nelson out of retirement to turn around a franchise that hadn’t been to the postseason since he took them there in 1994 during his first stint as coach, dropping former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery in late August after two losing seasons.
Back home, Golden State won again behind its deafening, towel-waving crowd that Mavs coach and former Warrior Avery Johnson described this way: "If you haven’t been to the playoffs in 13 years, your fans are going to be pretty crazy."
And the "We Believe" mantra that now rocks Oakland – Mickael Pietrus led the team out of the locker room holding one of the bright yellow T-shirts sporting the logo – has even caught the attention of celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg, popular guitarist Carlos Santana, actors Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson, and golfer Fred Couples. They were all in the stands for the clincher.
Nowitzki missed his first eight shots, bricking consecutive 3-point tries late in the second quarter before hitting a 16-footer for his first basket of the game with 38 seconds left in the period. Dallas trailed 50-48 at the break but couldn’t match the Warriors’ energy in the third. The Mavs went 5:07 without scoring as Golden State turned it into a rout, leading 86-63 going into the final 12 minutes.
The Warriors traded for Jackson in January in an eight-player swap with the Indiana Pacers to pair him with a healthy Davis as this playoff-starved franchise tried – and ultimately succeeded – to end the NBA’s longest postseason drought.
Johnson, groomed by Nellie to be a head coach, said the Warriors had "10,000 pounds on their right arms up there in Oakland" to close out a series Golden State led 3-1 – but 20,677 screaming fans from every corner of Oracle Arena put all the pressure on the cold-shooting Mavs.
The Warriors hadn’t won a best-of-seven series in 31 years, since beating Detroit in a first-round series in 1975-76 – the year after winning their only NBA championship in California. Golden State had lost its last five best-of-sevens – and hadn’t won any playoff series since beating San Antonio 3-1 in the first round in 1990-91.
Johnson brought his team back to California immediately after Game 5 so the Mavs could get more comfortable in the Warriors’ raucous confines, while Golden State spent the night in Dallas.
Dallas’ first seven made field goals were 3s, 4-of-6 from Stackhouse in the opening period, and the Mavs were 0-for-14 from 2-point range before Jason Terry’s jumper at the 11:22 mark of the second quarter.
Barnes earned his first start of the series over Monta Ellis and played through a pulled right hamstring, just like Davis.
No team that’s won 65 games had ever failed to win at least one playoff series. Even worse, it came against Nelson, who spent 10 seasons helping taking Dallas from among the league’s worst teams to one of the best.
The NBA fined Richardson $35,000 for improper interaction with a fan during Game 5 in Dallas. Richardson had a heated verbal exchange with the fan after missing a shot and falling out of bounds with 21.9 seconds left in the Warriors’ 118-112 loss. The fan reportedly filed a complaint with NBA security. … The fans booed Cuban when he came out before tipoff.