First Impressions: Mavs 104, Warriors 94
"Our team is pretty battle tested,'' coach Rick Carlisle said about the Dallas approach. "Our guys know what this time of year is about."
Vince Carter led the way for the Dallas Mavericks, scoring all 19 of his points in the second half, nine rebounds and three assists off the bench while becoming only the 18th player in NBA history with 1,500 three-pointers made. He also scored Dallas' first eight points of the fourth quarter. Brandan Wright was also nearly unstoppable, chipping in 17 points on 8-9 shooting and seven rebounds in only 16 minutes of work. Dirk Nowitzki and Delonte West added 16 points apiece while both shooting 50% from the field.
Golden State, depleted by injury and now playing more for draft lottery ping-pong balls than pride was led by Klay Thompson, who had a game-high 26 points. Brandon Rush also added 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
After playing down to a clearly inferior opponent's level for much of the first half, the Mavericks pulled away after halftime. Perhaps some of their difficulty was an inability to make a three-pointer before Delonte West spashed one home in the third quarter. Dallas had gone an NBA-best 1,084 consecutive games with a three-pointer. They would make only three all night, hitting only 16% from downtown on 3-19 shooting.
Dallas was able to hold nearly all of the rotation's heavy lifters under 30 minutes of playing time. West was the only exception, logging 33 minutes of duty tonight.
The Mavericks also took advantage of a thin Warriors front line, outrebounding Golden State 52-35, including a 13-7 offensive rebound advantage, leading to a 16-2 second-chance point edge. Dallas also enjoyed a 48-32 points in the paint lead.
The Mavs' interior dominance was made obvious by the three centers, who combined for 30 points and 23 rebounds.
"This is a good example of a game where we needed all three centers,'' Carlisle said of Haywood, Mahinmi and Wright. "We needed all three guys tonight."
Dallas was also nearly perfect from the line, hitting 25-of-26 from the charity stripe. The lone drawback for Dallas was 18 turnovers for 22 Warriors points.
With the win, Dallas is now in sixth place in the Western Conference. The Mavs can finish either sixth or seventh now. While keeping an eye towards the postseason, Carlisle said after the game that Jason Kidd would sit out Saturday's game at the Chicago Bulls.
Kelenna Azubuike also made his Mavericks debut, playing six total minutes. His last NBA appearance was in 2009, ironically with the Golden State Warriors.