Saturday , Apr , 28 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Warriors rout Mavs; take series lead

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Jason Richardson scored 30 points, as Golden
State, rode the emotion of its first home playoff contest since 1994 with a
surprising 109-91 rout of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of their Western
Conference quarterfinal series.

Baron Davis had 24 points for the Warriors, who grabbed a 2-1 series lead, and
they did it by using an up-tempo offense.

Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the top-seeded Mavericks, who
continued to struggle against Golden State. The Warriors won all three regular
season meetings and then took the opener of this series before losing their
cool in Game 2, which featured the ejections of Davis and Stephen Jackson.

Josh Howard also scored 20, while Jason Terry had 14 for the Mavs, who shot
38.8 percent from the field.

Richardson made 12-of-19 field goals and Stephen Jackson tallied 16 points in
the win.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven set is Sunday night in Oakland.

Monta Ellis scored 14 for Golden State, which didn’t get into the playoffs in
the final day of the regular season, a sharp contrast to Dallas’ dominating
67-15 record. However, so far this series, Nowitzki and Co. haven’t been able
to keep up with the Warriors, as Golden State coach Don Nelson continues to
haunt the team he coached for eight seasons.

Despite the win, Nelson said afterwards his team can’t let its guard down.

“We’ve had a lot of practice in losing,” Nelson said. “We lost 40 games this
season, we know how to do that as well. We have to keep our guard up. We are
playing the best ball we’ve played this season.”

Jackson was fined $50,000 for his conduct following his ejection on Wednesday,
but two nights later he and Davis remained under control emotionally and let
their play do the talking as a record crowd of 20,629 gave the Warriors
countless standing ovations.

Devin Harris’ layup represented the first points of the third quarter, but the
Warriors responded with seven in a row, capped by a three-point play from
Richardson for a 68-50 lead.

Howard was called for a technical foul right after Richardson nailed a three,
and Davis hit the ensuing free throw for an 81-61 lead with over four minutes
left in the third.

It was 89-71 going into the fourth and the Mavericks looked like a finished,
beaten team in the final 12 minutes. Davis drilled a three for a 100-78 margin
midway through the period and the Warriors completed the rout by having all
five starters in double figures.

Davis was removed from the game with 1:32 left, gesturing to the home crowd
for their support.

“It means more than anybody knows to us,” Nelson said of the crowd. “Our team
is not very good and we need the support of our crowd to help us in these
tough games.”

Andris Biedrins had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Despite giving up the first four points, the opening quarter was one dominated
by the Warriors. Golden State responded with 12 of the next 16 points, with
Davis’ three-point play capping the burst. Richardson buried a three near the
end of the quarter before Jerry Stackhouse nailed a jumper, leaving Dallas
behind 29-20.

Richardson continued to plague the Mavs with aggressive play, scoring seven
straight Golden State points at one juncture, widening the home team’s margin
to 38-23.

“We just couldn’t get it under control this game,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson
said. “We just didn’t have the passion, the fire, the intensity, the
physicality to win this game.”

A Jackson bucket moved the advantage to 49-31 before Dallas scored the next
nine, but still trailed 61-48 at the break. Matters were complicated by
Nowitzki picking up his third foul in the closing seconds of the half when
Davis completed a three-point play.

Game Notes

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…Before the game, Ellis received the NBA’s Most Improved Player
award…Dallas has lost four straight road games in the playoffs…The
Warriors are 6-3 in series in which they return home tied 1-1 and do not hold
home court advantage…It was Golden State’s first home playoff game since
falling to Phoenix in a first-round sweep…Stackhouse had 10 points.