The Golden State Warriors, losers of three straight, came to Dallas looking to beat the bearded Mavs and get back on the path that has made them arguably the NBA's most surprising team. On the second night of a back to back, it would be a tall challenge, even against an ostensibly inferior opponent who, meanwhile, was well-rested, and angry.
Much like in the 21 point victory against Memphis last month, it seemed like Dallas was catching a good team at the right time, as Golden State looked tired, disinterested, and not terribly confident. This was the same team that Houston lit up for 140 points recently, a score more reminiscent of the Nelson era Warriors(or Mavs!) and not the suddenly defensively capable squad coach Mark Jackson has sent to play this season.
For Dallas, the confidence was only present, but growing, along with the hair follicles. The announced starting lineups for Fox Sports Southwest featured a graphic of biblical-sized beards pasted on the players faces, precisely the sort of humorous distraction that is so needed in what has been the least enjoyable of all Mark Cuban's seasons as owner.
Dallas would begin the game with a blocked shot by Dirk, who has seemed to acquire the quickest beard of all(that German DNA), and the rest of the team would take his cue and ratchet up the defensive intensity. Golden State would score just 16 points in the first quarter, and Darren Collison would nearly match them all by himself with 13 points all on his lonesome, all in a seven minute stretch before Roddy Beaubois would check in with a minute to play.
Already with a 14 point lead to start to the second quarter, Dallas would continue the barrage, scoring in just about every way possible, with long bombs, transition buckets, and healthy dose of free throws. They would double-up Golden State at 54-27 with five minutes before halftime, and suddenly the game was out of hand before it seemed either team really knew what was going on. Dallas would go to the locker room with the score 62-36 in their favor(and a near 40-foot buzzer-beating make from Collison that might have brought out the white flag had it gone in).
In the third, Golden State would try to claw their way back in, as the Warrior bench would show a little fight, led by Carl Landry and a pair of rookies in Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore. Forgotten man Richard Jefferson would even hit a shot(a nice dunk), his only of the night. A big three from Jae Crowder with 15 seconds left would put the lead back to 20, and the Maverick advantage would still appear more than comfortable.
In the fourth, Golden State would come close to turning this one into something other than a laugher, storming out to an 8-2 run and cutting the lead to 13, but it would be as close as they got, and Dallas would respond with an 18-5 run that would put the game out of reach and bring in the scrubs for both sides. Shawn Marion would have his way with the Bogut-less interior defense for Golden State, getting bucket after bucket close to the hoop. More free throws for Dallas, who sent five guys to the line at least five times, would also help run up the score well past the century mark. It seemed that it was simply Dallas' night.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, maybe the best shooting duo in the league right now, who both had torched Dallas on separate occasions this year, combined to go 12-37. That is a recipe for a blowout. Andris Biedrins, curiously, started and did not have a field goal attempt. Carl Landry would score 13 off the bench in 28 minutes and was the only Warrior not noticeably off tonight.
It was another iffy shooting line for Dirk(3-12), but 11 freebies helped him get his 15 and 6, to go along with zero turnovers. The star for Big D, as his so often been the case lately, was Shawn Marion, who after complaining about potentially being traded went out and made a great case for Dallas to trade him, putting up 26 and 11 with a pair of threes. It was Marion's fourth 20-point night in less than a month.
Helping to set up Marion were O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison, who had 8 and 9 assists(just a pair of TO's apiece), respectively, and went a combined 5-8 from deep. With the team losing and Dirk clearly not 100%, it wouldn't be too hard to see O.J. Mayo start jacking up shots, but to his credit, he has been great in playing his game: a team game. I do not think he is a franchise guy, a #1 or #2, but he has proven that he can play Carlisle basketball, even having come down from the otherworldly, unsustainable shooting numbers we saw from him earlier in the season.
Elton Brand would also have a double-double, with 11 and 11, once again coming off the bench to spell Bernard James and play heavy minutes as the sixth man. He was one of 7 guys who shot better than 50% from the field, and this was pretty much the key stat tonight: Dallas would shoot 49.4% as a team, while Golden State mustered just 38.2%. Also notable was something I alluded to earlier: Dallas earned 38 free throws, a shocking total for the finesse, jumpshooting bunch.
This was a great win, for a group of guys who probably felt like they could use a great win. That being said, and I hate to be a wet towel on this one, but is this a win we(the fans) will want back in four months? I'll just put the question out there, without trying to act like I know the answer.
Check out fellow SB Nation blog, Golden State Of Mind!