Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Escape Artists

In a game that lived up to its billing, Dallas escaped Game 5 and will live to get back to Oakland on Thursday. With Baron Davis having made a scrambling 24-footer to extend Golden State's lead to 9 (112-103) with 3:20 left, the Mavericks -- and especially presumptive MVP Dirk Nowitzki -- stared into the abyss. But Dirk put the Mavs on his back, and banged consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to 3, and the Mavs ended up closing the game out on a 15-0 run.

The Warriors, having played 45 minutes of mistake-filled (Reggie Miller counted 6 missed layups in the first half) basketball, had nonetheless stormed back from a 21-point deficit after halftime. But in the last three minutes, the Warriors tightened up and had multiple empty possessions when Dallas (by running a double-team at Davis) forced the other players to make plays. The end came when Jason Richardson turned down an open 15-footer with about 10 on the shot clock; the Warriors ended up getting a poor Mickael Pietrus jumper from the corner with about 31 second left, and the game was over.

The pressure now shifts to Warriors -- to some extent -- as the teams prepare for Game Six.

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