Warriors 108, Mavericks 107
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Golden State Warriors sure appear to be playing for something—even though they will miss the playoffs for the 10th straight season.
Jason Richardson had 24 points and 11 rebounds and the Warriors staged a furious rally in the final five minutes to end a 20-game losing streak to Dallas, defeating the Mavericks 108-107 on Sunday night.
“When that buzzer sounded, it felt like we won the championship,” guard Speedy Claxton said. “When you play hard, great things happen for you, like tonight.”
Cliff Robinson scored five straight points to give Golden State its first lead, 103-101 with 3:46 to play, then Claxton made a layup. Brian Cardinal grabbed several key rebounds during the late series, secured a jump ball and had an assist.
The Mavericks inbounded the ball at midcourt with 20.8 seconds left, but missed several chances to win, including Antoine Walker’s 3-point try that bounced off the rim with less than a second to go.
“I just thought our defense was unbelievable,” said Warriors coach Eric Musselman, whose job security has been the subject of much speculation. “Stop after stop against a great offensive team.”
Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the playoff-bound Mavs, who remained tied with Memphis for the fifth seed in the West after the Grizzlies lost 89-83 in Phoenix.
Marquis Daniels had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Dallas, which hadn’t lost to Golden State since April 10, 1999.
“I guess if you coach long enough, everything is going to happen to you,” Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. “I haven’t lost here since they fired me however many years ago that was. But tonight it caught us.”
Nelson, fired by the Warriors during the 1994-95 season, was mistaken—his Mavericks lost in Oakland twice in 1998 and again in ’99.
Golden State got 19 points and nine assists from Claxton, 17 points and eight boards from Cardinal and 16 points from Troy Murphy before he left with what later was diagnosed as a right lung contusion. Golden State had lost 21 of 23 to the Mavericks, including nine straight at home.
“It’s great to be able to influence and affect the teams that are in the playoffs,” Cardinal said.
Claxton hit Richardson with a picture perfect alley-oop pass from beyond midcourt to pull the Warriors to 93-91 with 7:50 to play.
With 6:33 left, Mavericks center Shawn Bradley was whistled for a technical foul following a hard foul on Murphy. Murphy was driving the lane when Bradley came down hard on him. Murphy landed on his back and scooted to the base of the basket support, where he sat coughing up blood for several minutes before staying in the game.
Following Cardinal’s technical foul shot, Murphy converted two free throws to make it 95-94. He then left the game and went for X-rays on his back.
The Mavericks have lost two straight following a six-game winning streak.
“It was a horrible weekend for us,” Mavericks guard Steve Nash said. “It’s all about responding.”
Michael Finley, Dallas’ second-leading scorer, missed his second straight game because of back spasms. His replacement in the starting lineup, Josh Howard, did not play in the second half because of a sore right hamstring. He had five points in 17 minutes.
Golden State started the game 1-for-9 and shot 38 percent in the first quarter, but closed to 56-49 at halftime against a Mavericks lineup that shot 45.7 percent in the first half and led by as many as 10.
“For as tough as it’s been, guys have been preparing to play,” Robinsonsaid. “We come out and play hard and stay focused on what we have to do.”
Claxton has been bothered by a right groin strain and asked to be taken out early in the second quarter. He quickly returned. … Golden State G Avery Johnson received the franchise’s foundation award, given each season to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of community service. … Robinson is the only Warriors player to appear in all 80 games. … Former Warriors F Antawn Jamison, who was greeted with a smattering of boos during pregame introductions, threw up an airball from about 15 feet late in the second quarter. He sprained his right ankle with 20 seconds left, but stayed in andfinished with 14 points and seven rebounds.