PLAYOFF RECAP: Game 5: Warriors 112, Mavs 118 - We Got to Pray...

...just to make it today.
MC Hammer, Pray (1990)

Final Box Score

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Baron lead all Warriors with 27 points.
(photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

This has got to be the best series in the playoffs, hands down.  Aside from the blowout at the Oracle, each game has been an intense nailbiter with the official decision coming down to the last few minutes of the game.  With more drama than Grey's Anatomy, this matchup has given us fans much to cheer and get emotional about.  Despite a close loss, that could have been a blowout or a win -- depending on how you look at the swings in the game -- the playoffs thus far is still jouissance!

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Dirk trying to be dominant.
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

In what was probably the most balanced officiating of the playoff series thus far (aside from the Jax ejection tonight), the Warriors were unable to close out the game.  Up nine with three minutes left, the Warriors all of sudden looked frazzled and jittery after Dirk's block on Barnes.  Back to back threes and Devin Harris' 3 point play officially sealed the Warriors' fate for this game -- despite the millions of mini-comebacks throughout the game.  I actually thought the game was over midway through the second quarter when the Warriors were colliding into each other, miscommunicating, and bricking contested and wide open layups.  At one moment I thought I was watching Game 1 or some highlight reels of me playing ball in high school.  Actually, scenes from the film "Basketball Diaries" where the preppie kids get high before the game and basically have turnover after turnover after turnover adequately describe how poorly the Warriors played during that first half of the second quarter. It was ugly. Kirsten Dunst ugly.

But we got to be proud of the Warriors tonight.  On several occasion with "the bodyguard" on the bench, the Warriors' second unit -- led by Pietrus and Barnes -- kept the game close, bringing it within Dunleavy (meaning 'single digits').  For about 75% of the game (especially the last 10%), the Mavs were looking like their usual dominant selves.  J-Ho was nearly perfect from the field and Nowitski looked determined to get his points inside or outside the paint.  But the Warriors battled back from 21 down to get it within 7 at the end of the second quarter with Barnes leading the charge by penetrating and kicking it out if not stuffing it in the grill of Diop.  Get this man a contract!  The first half revival was punctuated by a technical on Stackhouse.

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Terry getting broken.
(Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The second half was rather similar to the end of the first half with the Warriors playing some great defense only for it to go to waste with some sloppy passing or poor shot selection.  I won't repeat what was expressed quite clearly by GSoM readers, but I'll summarize briefly what many said: the poor ball protection and QUICK contested shots killed our own momentum sometimes more than anything Dallas did.  But I guess that's just the nature of the Warriors' game and maybe we just have to live with that.

The Warriors came out gunning though in the second half hitting three after three after three en route to hitting 46% on threes and 47% on the total field goal percentage.  Unfortunately, it doesn't quite help when your opponents shoot above 50% and 48% on threes.  But that seems to be the odd nature of Warriors' ball where the stats don't quite explain their play. JRich, Davis, Pietrus, Barnes, Jax all made triples that killed any Mavs' mini-runs, which culminated in a 9 point lead with just over 3 minutes to play in the 4th.  Unfortunately, things began to snowball directly after the big shots by Nowitski and Harris (15-0 run in final 2 minutes).  Also, the Mavs ability to double the bodyguard froze up everyone, leading to some pretty rushed shots.  Davis fouling out and then the unexpected and highly suspect Jax ejection seemed to be the final unraveling of the Warriors.

Oddly, Jax's deliberate non-violent protest of Davis' last foul led to an automatic ejection in a game that was practically decided.  Jason Terry, who's history of violence in the playoffs, however, was remembered today when he very intentionally took down Baron Davis in front the Warriors bench AND a ref.  Granted, Jax should have known that the gesture of clapping is what refs hate the most (why not throw out the fans too while you're at it?), but to only give a technical for physically throwing someone on the floor seems extremely unbalanced in an otherwise pretty well reffed game.  Really though, what gives?  If anything, it seems that Jax has become the scapegoat for refs and their in-game frustrations.  Even Barkley disagreed with that assessment!

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And they call Jax a thug?
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

As we all know, the Mavs are a legitimate team (with some WHINY fans) and the Warriors better not let themselves get into the hole they were this last game.  With the exception of the lapses in judgment, the Warriors played their usual frenetic pace-- flying up and down the court playing exciting Nellieball.  But before we get to the next game, here's a few last minute observations:

Starting 5:
They played solidly and cohesively in the second half, easily finding the open man for the wide open three.  As much as the three kept them close, I would have liked to see some more posting up by JRich or even Harrington.  Down the stretch, the Warriors reliance on quick threes led to easy shots on the opposite end.

Bench:
Pietrus has another solid game with 11 pts and 10 rebounds coming up with some much needed defensive rebounds amidst the Mavs' stronger and taller players.  Barnes had a phenomenal night with several highlight worth dunks on just about everyone in the Mavs' starting five.  He exceeded my expectations finishing with 16-5-4, but was really the catalyst for several of the runs the Warriors made early and late in the game.  But Harrington, where did you go?  After playing a relatively decent game-- a few big buckets and dunks-- why was Harrington glued to the bench?  

Barnes Baby!  The dude jumpstarted the Warriors comeback in the second quarter and did just about everything that the coach and the team needed.  Rebounds, steals, three pointers, and momentum changing slam dunks-- you name it, he can do it!  Lets hope his ankle injury is nothing serious!

Also see: PLAYOFF OPEN THREAD - Game #5: Warriors @ Mavs - Turn This Mutha Out!


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