Don Nelson's wacky ways still win playoff games in Dallas -- even though he's now coaching the Golden State Warriors.
Baron Davis scored 19 of his 33 points in the third quarter, carrying Nelson's small-ball lineup to a 97-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their Western Conference series on Sunday night.
An eighth seed beating a top seed, especially one that won 67 regular-season games, normally would be a stunner. But this was Golden State's sixth straight win over Dallas -- the Warriors are 4-0 against the Mavs since Nelson took over as coach this season.
Davis nearly had a triple-double, with 14 rebounds and eight assists to go along with his scoring. Stephen Jackson added 23 points to help Golden State, playing its first postseason game since 1994, win its first playoff win since April 25, 1992, and its first playoff road win since May 8, 1991.
The Mavericks made the NBA finals last year and are expecting to get back again, especially after their strong regular season. But all that earned them for the playoffs was home-court advantage -- and they've now squandered that. Game 2 will be in Dallas tomorrow night.
Suns 95, Lakers 87
At Phoenix, Leandro Barbosa scored 19 points in the second half to spark Phoenix's comeback and Kobe Bryant went from awesome to awful.
Barbosa finished with 26 points, including 15 consecutive for Phoenix in one stretch, to match his career playoff scoring high. Amare Stoudemire, back in the postseason after missing last year's while recovering from two knee surgeries, added 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Bryant scored 39 points for Los Angeles, but only 11 in the second half. The NBA's scoring champ was 1-for-10 shooting in the fourth quarter, when Phoenix pulled away.
Steve Nash had 20 points and 10 assists and Shawn Marion 16 points and 16 rebounds for a Phoenix team that struggled until Barbosa provided a spark, highlighted by a 10m shot at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the Lakers' lead to 77-74 entering the fourth.
Cavaliers 97, Wizards 82
At Cleveland, LeBron James stayed in the game despite a sprained ankle and scored 23 points, Larry Hughes added 27 and Cleveland beat injury-depleted Washington in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series.
James rolled his left ankle in the third quarter but refused to sit out. He also collected nine rebounds and seven assists in 44 minutes.
The Cavs were favored to blow through their second straight first-round matchup with the Wizards, who were missing All-Stars Gilbert Arenas (knee surgery) and Caron Butler (broken hand).
Nevertheless, Antawn Jamison scored 28 points and Jarvis Hayes 18 for Washington, which was still within 10 points with more than seven minutes remaining.
The Cavs moved their offensive attack inside and center Zydrunas Ilgaukas scored seven straight points to help Cleveland push its lead to 89-74 with five minutes left.
Ilgauskas, who was bothered by a sore ankle when the Cavs beat the Wizards in a tight six-game series a year ago, scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth.
James appeared as if his second postseason as a pro might be in jeopardy when he crumpled to the floor with 8:03 left in the third.
Nuggets 95, Spurs 89
At San Antonio, the high-scoring duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson provided the offense and Denver was tough defensively, too.
Iverson scored 29 of his 31 points after the first quarter and Anthony added 30 points for the Nuggets, who entered the playoffs having won 10 of 11 games.
Nene added 13 points and 12 rebounds and Marcus Camby grabbed 10 boards for Denver. The big guys also made things difficult for Tim Duncan, who scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds for the Spurs.
Tony Parker led third-seeded San Antonio with 19 points, followed by Michael Finley with 15 and Robert Horry with 14.
The Nuggets haven't won a playoff series since 1994 -- when they beat Seattle in a best-of-five to become the first No. 8 seed to knock out a No. 1.
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