Golden State 103, Dallas 99

OAKLAND, Calif., April 29 (AP) -- Baron Davis bedeviled the Mavericks one more time - and now his crazy, carefree Golden State Warriors are one win away from a historic playoff upset.

Davis had five of his 33 points and two key assists in the final 3+ minutes, and the Warriors roared from behind for a 103-99 victory Sunday night to take a 3-1 lead over the NBA's best team in their first-round playoff series.

Jason Richardson scored 22 points and Stephen Jackson added 19 for the Warriors, who could become just the third team in league history to knock off a No. 1 seed in the opening round.

Only the Denver Nuggets (1994) and the New York Knicks (1999) have won a playoff series as a No. 8 seed - and both did it in the old best-of-five format.

The Warriors are an even more unlikely candidate as a 42-40 club that didn't make the playoffs until the final day of the regular season - but Golden State has a hold on Dallas, winning eight of the clubs' last nine meetings and surging to this victory after trailing by seven points with 6+ minutes left.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Dallas, where the Mavericks went 36-5 in the regular season, but blew the series opener.

Jerry Stackhouse scored 24 points and kept Dallas ahead for most of the second half, but the Mavs' offense tightened up as soon as the Warriors' incredible point guard took charge.

Davis - who banked in a 3-pointer from midcourt at halftime - hit Jackson for an open 3-pointer, then made a driving layup in traffic to put Golden State ahead 91-90 with 2:35 left.

After Stackhouse airballed a 3-pointer and Andris Biedrins dunked on another pass from Davis, the Mavericks fell apart with a turnover and a traveling violation before Davis coolly drilled a 20-footer with 57 seconds left. Matt Barnes thought he put it away for the Warriors with a 3-pointer from the sideline, but Dirk Nowitzki hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 14 seconds to keep it close.

Davis missed a free throw with 3.2 seconds left to give Dallas one last shot - but Devin Harris threw the inbounds pass straight to Golden State's Mickael Pietrus, sparking the crowd to deafening cheers from the sellout Oakland crowd. Pietrus finished with 16 points.

Josh Howard scored just two of his 22 points after halftime, and Nowitzki had 23 points and 15 rebounds in another less-than-most-valuable performance - much to the delight of Golden State's jeering fans.

Golden State put the top-seeded Mavericks in an early hole in the series with two quick wins, including an 18-point triumph in Game 3 with a raucous crowd enjoying Oakland's first home playoff game in 13 years. Jason Terry and Stackhouse called a players-only team meeting Saturday, the Mavericks' first such gathering since last season's NBA finals.

The Oracle Arena rematch wasn't nearly as one-sided - but the Warriors had all the fourth-quarter poise that the defending Western Conference champions have inexplicably lacked.

There's fire in this series, all right - and it's all on Golden State's side.

Howard, who praised the players meeting, scored 14 points in the first quarter as Dallas largely controlled the tempo. But Golden State got 10 points and a spectacular blocked shot from Pietrus, then finished the first half on a 15-7 run capped by Davis' extraordinary 3-pointer.

After Nowitzki completed a three-point play with 1.1 seconds left, Davis launched a one-handed shot from a step beyond midcourt near the scorers' table - and it banked hard off the glass and in, setting off a deafening roar for the tie.

Dallas jumped ahead in the third quarter, but Davis tied it again going to the fourth with another otherworldly play, stealing a Dallas pass and driving for a two-handed fingertip dunk with 1.2 seconds left.

But the Mavericks had some theatrics in store as well: With the shot clock dwindling, Stackhouse banked in a 32-footer with 8 minutes to play, giving Dallas a five-point lead. The Mavericks led by seven points with 6+ minutes left before Davis keyed the Warriors' comeback.

Notes: Monta Ellis went scoreless in 24 minutes for Golden State. Devean George was scoreless in 15 minutes for Dallas. ... Josh Powell, the Warriors' seldom-used forward who played for Dallas last season, missed the game because of a death in the family. He's expected to rejoin the club before Game 5. Rookie Patrick O'Bryant was active in Powell's place. ... Actress Jessica Alba - another friend of Davis, who also invited Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson to both Oakland games - cheered from a front-row seat. Former Warriors and Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes also attended, and quarterback Alex Smith led a group of San Francisco 49ers. ... Barnes got a multicolored tattoo on his neck between games, featuring praying hands and the word "Believe.''


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