Warriors 117, Mavericks 100
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Dallas Mavericks’ 17-game winning streak ended with a thud.
Make that a series of thuds, from every one of their missed shots and turnovers.
Dirk Nowitzki even got embarrassed enough to draw a technical foul while sitting on the bench—yet when his head finally cooled, he realized the Mavs can draw motivation and maturity from this loss.
After all, it’s only their third in three months.
Mickael Pietrus scored 20 points as the Warriors emphatically snapped the seventh-longest streak in NBA history, dominating the league leaders throughout a 117-100 victory Monday night.
For at least one night, the Warriors were far better than the NBA’s best team. The blowout win was a stunner for both Golden State and the Mavericks (52-10), who hadn’t lost since Jan. 25 at Chicago.
“They came out swinging, and we were never ready for the attack,” said Nowitzki, who scored just 13 points on 3-of-11 shooting, made seven turnovers. “We were backpedaling all game long. We were just never really ready to play. That’s something we’ve got to learn from if we want to do anything this year in the postseason.”
Dallas beat the Los Angeles Lakers by 36 points Sunday night to improve to 38-2 since Dec. 11, but that team never showed up in Oakland. The Mavs floundered offensively and played awful defense against the Warriors’ up-tempo offense, falling behind by 17 in the first half and 29 in the third quarter.
Jason Terry scored 16 points, but the defending Western Conference champions never were competitive in their fourth straight loss to the Warriors. Nowitzki was furious when he left the game, but had a little perspective afterward.
The Mavericks are the first club in NBA history with three winning streaks of 12 games or longer in the same season, but they’ll have to start another one Wednesday night in a showdown with Phoenix, which also won 17 straight earlier this year.
“We weren’t here tonight,” coach Avery Johnson said. “We just didn’t have it. We got outplayed and worked and hustled, but our guys are professional. They don’t have many nights like this, so we’ll bounce back. … This leaves a bad taste in our mouth. We don’t like to play like this.”
Don Nelson, the Mavericks’ longtime coach in his first season back with Golden State, has won his first two matchups with Johnson, his former protege. Nelson cooked up an impressive game plan for Dallas, doubling Nowitzki to key the defense that forced Dallas’ 23 turnovers and erratic shooting.
“It was a combination of everything,” Nelson said. “It was just time. Seventeen is enough. We just happened to be the lucky guys.”
The Warriors improbably have been the Mavericks’ toughest regular-season opponent recently, and they played perhaps their best game of the season while winning for the fourth time in five games overall to stay in the playoff race despite their 30-36 record.
Baron Davis, who sat out the Warriors’ lackluster loss at Portland on Sunday night to rest his surgically repaired left knee, had nine points and seven assists as the Warriors improved to 4-0 with Davis, Richardson, Biedrins, Harrington and Jackson in the starting lineup.
“This is a huge win for us,” Davis said. “They’re coming in (with) a streak of 17 games in a row, and they were looking invincible. The fact that we came out and played at a high level really, really gave us a lot of confidence. … We’ll definitely be in the playoffs if we continue to play like this.”
Golden State scored the game’s first eight points, and it never got much better for the Mavs, who were dull and disorganized throughout the final three quarters. Nowitzki went scoreless in the second quarter, and Dallas gave up runs of 11-0 and 10-4 while falling behind 62-45 late in the first half.
Nowitzki became visibly frustrated in the third quarter, flattening Davis for an offensive foul before comically swatting a loose ball out of a cameraman’s hands in his fury. Johnson removed him from the game while Harrington hit a free throw to put Golden State ahead by 23.
Two possessions later, Nowitzki was whistled for a technical foul for chirping from his seat on the Mavs’ bench.
Backup F Devean George played just 2 minutes in the first half before the Mavericks shelved him with soreness in his right knee. George missed seven recent games with a sprained ligament in his knee, but returned last week. … Monta Ellis scored eight points and made a spectacular move in the second quarter, driving around Nowitzki and making an acrobatic, double-clutch layup under the basket while Erick Dampier fouled him. … Warriors C Adonal Foyle, who didn’t play, will become a U.S. citizen Tuesday.