The Dallas Mavericks came to Oracle about as short-handed as a team can get.
Deron Williams, Chandler Parsons, Devin Harris and even Dirk Nowitzki sat this one out for different reasons. But David Lee was there, and that meant a ring ceremony for the long time Warriors forward. Stephen Curry addressed the audience and handed him the ring at center court, and a video tribute of Lee's time by the bay followed.
Then the fireworks started (and there were plenty). Both teams got out of the gate hot, with the guards dominating. It isn't unusual to see Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson start raining threes, but JJ Barea and Raymond Felton?
Along with Wes Matthews, the Mavericks got offense up and down the lineup against a Warriors defense that looked spotty at best. The Dubs continually let Mavs shooters get open, and they kept draining them (18-of-35 from range). But the Warriors did a great job of protecting the ball with just seven turnovers. That gave them plenty of shots to stay ahead of the persistent Mavs.
Still, the Warriors just couldn't put the Mavericks away. Despite a few runs that looked like the type that win Warriors games, the Mavericks slowly scrapped their way back into the game each time. Golden State led 72-58 at halftime, but Dallas would outplay the Warriors for most of the second half. Their bench was strong, their shots were falling, and they had David Lee pulling a surprisingly decent Draymond Green impersonation (at least as far as the box score is concerned: 12 points, nine rebounds, six assists).
The Mavericks finally appeared ready to break through in the fourth quarter. They cut the lead to single digits, then to six, and then to three. The Warriors had briefly gone up by 15 earlier, which made this a chance to disprove Barnett's Law.
@unstoppablebaby It’s Barnett’s Law. #barnettslaw— Jason Chen (@diskopo) March 26, 2016
Fortunately, Klay Thompson was there to save the day. He drilled four three pointers in short order, and quickly gave the Warriors a bit of breathing space. From there, it was Stephen Curry off the bench to ice it, with some terrific defense from Draymond Green (as always). And that sent the fans home happy.
By the way...
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ripped into the officials for their performance on twitter. But I assume he does that every game, so don't sweat it.
- The Warriors broke the team record for most threes made in a season. There's still 10 games to go, guys.
- Al Michaels was in attendance, because he's awesome. Would've loved a guest announcer spot, but that's just getting greedy.
- The Warriors have an off-day before hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on Easter Sunday. 65-7 sounds pretty good to me.
Can’t imagine a tougher journey to be on #WarriorsGround. Thank you @jrezaian for joining us tonight!https://t.co/aaUSrnIQa8— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) March 26, 2016
Don't worry, Steph made up for it. https://t.co/acOHYuWWGe https://t.co/Uf64pQQnPk— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 26, 2016
Wonder if Al Michaels has the under or over? pic.twitter.com/El6DCvmmX3— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) March 26, 2016
Steph Curry presents David Lee with his championship ring. pic.twitter.com/WdBq0Qzaeu— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) March 26, 2016