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Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mavs finally solve Warriors, 112-99

April 26, 2007

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— The Dallas Mavericks finally discovered that beating the Golden State Warriors isn't as hard as they had made it look.

And it's even easier when Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson lose their cool.

Jason Terry scored 28 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 23, and Josh Howard led a 15-2 run in the third quarter that sent the Mavericks to a 112-99 victory over the Warriors in Game 2 on Wednesday night, evening their first-round series.

"We needed to turn it up," said Howard, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds. "They were aggressive at the start of the last game and we didn't respond. This time, we turned it around."

Dallas had lost six straight to Golden State dating to last season. The Mavericks' search for a skid-buster included a new starting lineup in Game 1, but that only resulted in a 12-point loss.

So coach Avery Johnson went back to the formula that won 67 games in the regular season and saw his club back in synch from the start.

"It was a physical game and emotional," Nowitzki said. "I think they got us in the first game and took us out of our game. I said after Game 1 we need to execute a lot better. We made a couple of adjustments that worked. Now they'll make adjustments going home and we'll go from there."

The Warriors hung tough in this one. Then when the game started slipping away, they made things worse on themselves.

Dallas already had surged ahead when Terry dribbled into Jackson, drawing a foul, then kept going into Davis. Words were exchanged, and there was some shoving, but officials broke it up by giving those three players technical fouls.

Davis got another tech, and an automatic ejection, for arguing about a foul with 0.2 seconds left in the third quarter. He was smiling and clapping at the time, although coach Don Nelson was warning him to cool it.

"We're not good enough to lose a player to an ejection, much less two," Nelson said. "It hurt us when we lost Baron. I thought we had a shot at the time. It wasn't to be."

Davis insisted he was clapping to keep his teammates' spirits up.

"I felt bad," he said. "I apologized to the coaches and my teammates."

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