Sunday , Apr , 22 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Mavs, Warriors open best-of-seven series in Dallas

(Sports Network) – The top-seeded Dallas Mavericks begin their quest to try
and make it back to the NBA Finals, as they host the eighth-seeded Golden
State Warriors tonight at American Airlines Center in Game 1 of the first
round of the 2007 playoffs.

This is a best-of-seven series. Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday at American
Airlines Center.

Dallas lost in six games last season to the Miami Heat in the championship
round.

The Mavericks reached the 60-win mark for the third time in franchise
history during the 2006-07 regular season, as they won a franchise-best
67 games.

Head coach Avery Johnson continues to get the most out of his squad, while
All-Star Dirk Nowitzki played like an MVP and Josh Howard earned his first
spot in an NBA All-Star Game. Nowitzki led Dallas in scoring (24.6 ppg) and
rebounding (8.9 rpg), while Jason Terry dished out a team-best 5.2 assists per
game.

After starting the season with four straight losses, the Mavericks won 12
straight and 27 of their next 30 games to take control of the Southwest
Division and finish with best overall record in the league.

The emergence of Howard, steady play off Terry and the all-around game of
Nowitzki have made the Mavericks the team to beat in the West. Devin Harris
and veteran Jerry Stackhouse lead a supporting cast that has helped Dallas
play like a team on a mission all season long.

The last time the Mavericks lost in the first round of the playoffs was in
2004, when they were ousted in five games, 4-1, by the Sacramento Kings.

Golden State, which had the longest playoff drought in the NBA, returns to the
postseason for the first time since 1994, when it was led by Chris Mullin,
Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber. The Warriors were swept, 3-0, by the
Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.

The Warriors last playoff victory was on April 25, 1992 at home against the
Seattle SuperSonics. Golden State fell in four, 3-1, to the SuperSonics in the
opening round of the playoffs that year.

Veteran head coach Don Nelson returned to the bench for Golden State this
season. Nelson, who was general of the Warriors for six-plus seasons
beginning in 1988, compiled a 277-260 record with the squad before resigning
halfway through the 1994-95 season.

Nelson spent parts of eight seasons as the head coach of Dallas, and guided
the Mavericks to four 50-plus win campaigns. He resigned as head coach on
March 19, 2005 and served as a consultant with Dallas until being hired by the
Warriors on August 30, 2006. Nelson is 70-85 all-time in the playoffs.

Nelson’s unorthodox system started to work when the franchise pulled off a
blockbuster trade. On January 17th, Golden State acquired swingman Stephen
Jackson, forwards Al Harrington and Josh Powell and guard Sarunas Jasikevicius
from the Indiana Pacers for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu and
Keith McLeod.

The athletic Harrington, who has played center and power forward for the
Warriors, and Jackson gave Nelson the flexibility with his rotation that he
lacked. Two-time All-Star guard Baron Davis led the team in scoring (20.1 ppg)
and assists (8.1 apg), while high-flying Jason Richardson is healthy and Monta
Ellis has been, arguably, the biggest surprise in the league this season.

The Warriors have played their best basketball in the month of April, as they
registered and 8-1 record and ended the campaign on a five-game winning
streak.

Golden State was 12-29 on the road during the regular season, while the
Mavericks were a league-best 36-5 at home.

Dallas and Golden State are meeting in the playoffs for the first time.

During the regular season, the Warriors swept the Mavericks, 3-0. Golden State
won a pair of games at ORACLE Arena and defeated Dallas, 107-104, on November
6th at American Airlines Center.

DAL GSW