Warriors One Win Away
The Golden State Warriors might halt the longest current playoff drought in the NBA on Tuesday by completing a stunning season sweep of the team they could face in the first round - the league-best Dallas Mavericks.
Golden State (40-40) can end a 12-year absence from the postseason by beating Dallas (66-14) for the third time in as many meetings this season, coupled with a Los Angeles Clippers' loss at Phoenix on Tuesday.
Oddsmakers have made Dallas -5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 216 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on Golden State +5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Even if the Clippers win, the Warriors can qualify for the postseason by winning at Portland on Wednesday in their regular-season finale.
"We're in the driver's seat, and what better position do you want, going into the last two games?" asked Golden State point guard Baron Davis, who turned 28 on Friday.
"We're playing good basketball right now. We've got great chemistry, and we're still learning and improving. But we know we're not there yet. Dallas is the best team in the league. We've still got to keep our eye on what we want to do."
Even though the Mavericks have clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, they may try particularly hard to win Tuesday and hurt the postseason hopes of the Warriors and former Dallas coach Don Nelson. If Golden State does grab the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, it would face top seed Dallas in the first round.
"We don't want to lose any games regardless if we have it wrapped up or not, we still want to try to play well and not throw any games away," Mavericks swingman Devean George said after the team's 91-86 win over San Antonio on Sunday.
The Warriors have won the last four meetings, including two in Dallas, while averaging 115.0 points. Only two other teams defeated the Mavericks more than once this season - Utah and Phoenix - and neither of them beat Dallas three times.
Golden State ended the Mavs' franchise-record 17-game winning streak with a 117-100 victory on March 12.
No Western Conference team has swept a season series from the Mavs since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000-01. Golden State hasn't done it since 1996-97.
The Warriors are in position to make the playoffs because of a surge that has seen them win 14 of their last 19 games, including seven of eight.
"We haven't had the luxury of controlling our own destiny for a while, and that's why we fought so hard, and have the record that we do down the stretch," said Nelson, who coached Golden State to their last playoff appearance in 1993-94 and guided Dallas from 1997-2005.
Jason Richardson had 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Warriors to a 121-108 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
Richardson has averaged 23.9 points and 7.4 boards in the last eight games, a stretch during which Golden State has gone 7-1 while averaging 117.9 points.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, are just tuning up for the playoffs. If they win one of their final two games, they'll finish tied for the fifth-most victories in one season in league history. They will tie for third-most if they win both.
Dallas closes the regular season at Seattle on Wednesday.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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