Warriors crush Mavericks to gain playoff edge

ORACLE ARENA — Before Tuesday’s Warriors-Mavericks game, both coaches acknowledged the Western Conference battle waiting for them.

With a win, the Warriors would solidify their position ahead of Dallas by 3-1/2 games. But with a loss, the Mavs would be right on the heels of sixth-seeded Golden State.

Expecting a West showdown, the sold-out crowd was instead delighted by a first half of highlights and a 48-minute showcase of what the Warriors could potentially do in the postseason.

The Warriors shut down the Mavericks 108-85 as reserve Jordan Crawford dazzled, scoring 14 of his 19 game-high points in the first half.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Crawford doesn’t get the credit he deserves — especially since the arrival of Steve Blake — telling SFBay Crawford’s performance and the win great are huge at this point in the season:

“It was a big time win for us.  If you lose this game, all of a sudden there are three teams again within striking distance.  I think this gave us some breathing room especially considering we have a big game tomorrow night against a red hot Clipper team.”

In the final seconds of the opening quarter Steve Blake’s pass inside was bumped by Dirk Nowitzki, but Crawford was there to pick up the ball and hit a buzzer beater sending fans into a frenzy.

Crawford continued to go off is the second frame sending up a heat check with 6:56 left in the first half to make the score 45-27.

Crawford isn’t a man of many words and is always soft spoken. But after the victory, Crawford said the bench is starting to play at a higher level and he enjoys being on a winning team:

“I think coach has more confidence in us and we see that.  It’s easier for us to play and you can get a little more extra time. It’s fun.”

Dallas managed to cut the lead to just single digits, but with the help of a 13-2 run the Warriors extended their lead to 23 points in the third quarter.

The Golden State bench outscored their starters 59-49 in the blowout win, and gave the star players a chance to rest before heading out to finish their back-to-back against the Clippers Wednesday.

Andrew Bogut told SFBay the chance to squeeze in a few extra minutes is huge, especially with who they’re going up against:

“No on played 40 minutes and that’s obviously a huge luxury for us.  We’ve got a big one tomorrow and we know they’ve probably marked this one on their calendar.  They don’t like us, we don’t like them.  It’s gonna be a good game.”

The Warriors, now 41-24 overall and 17 games over .500, head out to play the Clippers Wednesday, and return home to face the Cavaliers Friday.

Notes

The Warriors won their fifth-straight, the second five-game winning streak this season and the first time Golden State has had multiple five-game winning streaks in the same season since 2006-07. … Golden State held its opponent under 90 points for the 19th time season, their most such games since 2003-04 (28). … Jordan Crawford scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes for his highest scoring total by a Warrior. … David Lee totaled six points and 11 rebounds just the second time all season Lee hasn’t scored in double figures. … Dirk Nowitzki finished with 12 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes, tying John Havlicek (29,395) for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.


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