NBA News Wire
Backcourt reserves guide Warriors past Mavs
OAKLAND, Calif. — Guard Steve Blake didn’t play long for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he hung around long enough to learn one thing.
When someone is on a Kobe Bryant-type roll, keep feeding him the ball.
Blake applied that strategy to fellow Golden State Warriors backup Jordan Crawford on Tuesday night, setting the table for his backcourt mate to score nine consecutive points in a 100-second flurry bridging the first and second periods.
Crawford’s surge propelled the Warriors to a 108-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
In a game that pitted the Nos. 6 and 7 teams in the Western Conference playoff race, the Warriors (41-24) recorded a fifth consecutive win and moved three games up on the Mavericks (38-27).
Golden State’s second-string unit, led by Blake’s passing and Crawford’s scoring, provided the difference in a win that capped a 3-0 homestand.
“It started on the defensive end,” Blake said of a spurt that began with Dallas clinging to a 20-17 lead late in the first period. “We got stops, and the energy transitioned into the offensive end. Then Jordan got hot.”
Golden State reserves made four field goals — all but one a 3-pointer — in the final 2:54 of the quarter, capped by Crawford’s first basket, a buzzer-beating 21-pointer off a Blake assist that concluded a 12-2 burst and put the Warriors up 29-22.
The quarter ended, but Crawford’s offensive outburst had just begun. The Warriors’ in-season acquisition from the Boston Celtics opened the second period with two close-range shots, then turned another Blake assist into a 26-foot 3-pointer to complete his personal nine-point run that single-handedly pushed the Golden State lead to 36-24.
“That’s my job — find a guy who’s hot and ride him until he’s not going anymore,” said Blake, who finished with a game-high eight assists. “I just kept going to the hot hand.”
Crawford credited the first-quarter buzzer-beater as the key to his flurry. The sequence began with a defensive rebound by Warriors forward Draymond Green with 5.6 seconds left in the quarter, after which Blake rushed the ball up the court and awkwardly fed Crawford, who barely got a look at the hoop before launching an off-balance shot from the left side.
“It was a big factor,” Crawford said of his first hoop’s role in what turned out to be a 19-point night. “I’m glad I took it.”
With starting center Andrew Bogut enjoying a 15-point, six-rebound half, the Warriors went up by as many as 18 in the second period en route to a 55-44 advantage at the break. The Mavericks were never closer than nine in the second half.
Crawford hit eight of his 12 shots to lead five players in double figures for the Warriors, whose bench outscored its Dallas counterparts 59-37.
Bogut finished with a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, and shooting guard Klay Thompson contributed 14 points. Golden State won for a league-best 10th time since the All-Star break to go 17 games over .500 for the first time this season.
“That was a big-time win for us,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson, whose team flies to Los Angeles to duel the Pacific Division-leading Clippers on Wednesday. “If you lose this game, all of a sudden there are three teams again within striking distance (of the sixth playoff spot). This gave us some breathing room, especially considering we have a big-time game (Wednesday) against a red-hot Clipper team.”
Shooting guard Monta Ellis’ 15 points paced the Mavericks, who lost their third consecutive road game.
Dallas point guard Jose Calderon had 13 points, and power forward Dirk Nowitzki added 12 despite 4-for-11 shooting. The Mavericks fell behind Golden State 2-1 in the season series with one game remaining at Dallas on April 1.
“Crawford came in and changed the game for them,” Nowitzki said. “And offensively, it’s not like we had it going all night.”
The Mavericks shot 36.6 percent in the loss and were held below 100 points for just the second time in their last 11 games.
The Warriors hit 51.3 percent of their shots from the floor.
Like the Warriors, Dallas will face the second half of a back-to-back situation Wednesday in Utah. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is looking forward to it.
“We struggled tonight,” he said. “Other than the first six minutes of the game, we were fighting uphill the rest of the time, We have to flush it and get ready for (the Jazz).”
NOTES: SG Jordan Crawford’s 19 points and PG Steve Blake’s eight assists were both season highs as Warriors for the club’s two in-season trade acquisitions. … Warriors PG Stephen Curry connected on a 3-pointer with 5:07 remaining in the game, keeping alive his league-best streak of at least one successful 3 in 53 consecutive games. … Curry has now made 199 3s this season. He is on the verge of becoming the sixth player in NBA history to connect on at least 200 in consecutive seasons. … The Warriors held an opponent under 40 percent shooting for the 23rd time this season. Only the Indiana Pacers (25) have accomplished that feat more often. … Dallas played the final 32 minutes without backup SG Devin Harris, who suffered a strained right Achilles in the second quarter. The injury is not considered to be serious. … The Mavericks and Warriors have not made the playoffs in the same season since 2007.
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