Baron Davis has come to play
(Sports Network) – Don’t tell Baron Davis that the Golden State Warriors have
no chance of defeating the top-seeded and defending Western Conference
champion Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the 2007 NBA playoffs.
The eighth-seeded Warriors, who were 3-0 during the regular season against
Dallas and are back in the postseason for the first time since 1994, stunned
the Mavericks, who won an NBA-best and franchise-record 67 games during the
regular season, in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series. Davis registered
game-highs with 33 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists to lead Golden
State to 97-85 victory in the series opener at American Airlines Center.
Golden State earned its first playoff victory since April 25, 1992, when it
defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 115-101. The Warriors also won their first
playoff game on the road since defeating the Lakers in Game 2 of the Western
Conference semifinals on May 8, 1991.
A two-time All-Star, Davis was 11-of-20 from the field and collected three
steals in 44-plus minutes of action in Game 1’s victory. Davis put the
Warriors on his back and lifted them to a huge victory.
“Yeah, we were trying to slow him down,” said Dallas head coach Avery Johnson
about Baron Davis’ performance in Game 1. ” We trapped him, he got the ball
back. He still made some tough shots. He made some fall-away threes from spots
that he really hasn’t been making threes from.
“So, that’s what happens in the playoffs, a guy can get hot. We tried to give
him some different looks. Now we’ve got some stuff on film and we’ll evaluate
it and see what we need to do for the next time.”
Stephen Jackson, who was acquired on January 17th from Indiana along with Al
Harrington, Josh Powell and Sarunas Jasikevicius in a blockbuster trade,
finished with 23 points, five boards and four assists in Game 1’s win over
Dallas for the Warriors, while Jason Richardson, who has spent his entire six-
year career with Golden State, scored 13 and pulled down six boards in his
first-ever NBA playoff game.
The Mavericks outrebounded the Golden State, 50-45, but shot just 35.3 percent
from the floor, including 31.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Warriors made
43.2 percent of their shots from the field.
“Well Baron Davis had an incredible second half,” said Golden State head coach
Don Nelson after Game 1’s victory.” He got poked in the eye in the first half
and had blurred vision.
“At half time I kidded him and said maybe it will make your shot go in a
little bit better because you haven’t made hardly any and sure enough he
started making shots. He’s a tough guard anyway, but when he’s got his stuff
going, he’s very difficult to guard.”
The 28-year-old Davis does have some playoff experience. He had been to the
postseason five different times as a member of the Hornets. Davis led the
then-Charlotte Hornets to the Eastern Conference semifinals twice (2001,
2002). In 36 playoff games, the 6-3 Davis had averaged 18.5 points, 4.8
rebounds and 6.5 assists.
Davis, who has had a history of injury problems throughout his career, missed
19 games during the regular season. However, he led the Warriors in scoring
(20.1 ppg) and assists (8.1 apg). He shot 43.9 percent from the field, and at
times took over games for the Warriors. This is one player who loves to have
the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.
Even though they won Game 1 against Dallas, the Warriors are still a long shot
to pull off the upset in the best-of-seven series. Davis can single-handedly
win a game, and is going to make sure that his team is in the series until
the very end.