The Mavericks finally discovered that beating the Golden State Warriors isn't as hard as they had made it look.
And it's even easier when Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson lose their cool.
Jason Terry scored 28 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 23 and Josh Howard led a 15-2 run in the third quarter that sent the Mavericks to a 112-99 victory over the Warriors in Game 2 on Wednesday night, evening their first-round series.
Dallas had lost six straight to Golden State dating to last season. The Mavericks even tried a new starting lineup in Game 1, but that only led to a 12-point loss.
They went back to the formula that won 67 games in the regular season and were in synch from the start. The Warriors hung tough, though, until everything changed midway through the third quarter.
Dallas already was leading when Terry dribbled into Jackson, drawing a foul, then kept going into Davis. All three wound up with a technical foul.
Davis got another tech, and was automatically ejected, for arguing about a foul with 0.2 seconds left in the third quarter. He was smiling and clapping at the time, although coach Don Nelson was warning him to cool it.
The Mavs were well ahead when Jackson got his second technical with 4:34 to play. Whatever he said to get tossed wasn't nearly as bad as his reaction afterward. Teammate Matt Barnes tried covering Jackson's mouth, first with his arm then with a towel as he escorted him to the locker room.
The series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 tonight, and there's little doubt the emotions will remain high.
Cavaliers 109, Wizards 102
At Cleveland, With LeBron James playing cautiously on a sprained left ankle, Drew Gooden scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half for Cleveland, which took a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
The Wizards made it interesting in the final minute. They closed within 105-102 on a 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes with 18 seconds left. Larry Hughes, who had 19 points, then made four free throws for Cleveland.
Game 3 is scheduled for tomorrow in Washington.
Spurs 97, Nuggets 88
At San Antonio, after squandering most of a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, San Antonio held off Denver in Game 2 to even the first-round playoff series.
Manu Ginobili had eight points in the fourth quarter and Tim Duncan added seven points over the final 12 minutes for the Spurs, who lost Game 1 at home to the sixth-seeded Nuggets.
Duncan led San Antonio with 22 points and had five blocked shots. Tony Parker had 20 points, Ginobili added 17, all but two in the second half, and Michael Finley had 14.
Game 3 is tomorrow in Denver.
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