Today in Sports History: May 3rd

5/03/2007 - Golden State upsets the Mavs

The Golden State Warriors were done. After a one-point loss in Washington, where the deciding point came from a technical foul by head coach Don Nelson in the final seconds, the Warriors had lost six in a row. They were nine games under .500 and Nelson was already looking ahead to the next season.

But in their next game, the team -- fresh a trade where they acquired Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington -- got 100% healthy for the first time all year. They went into Detroit, one of the best teams in the NBA, and destroyed them, even leading by 26 at point. Golden State won 16 of their final 21 games and nine of their last ten to advance to the postseason for the first time in 13 years.

They met the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, a team Don Nelson had coached only a few years earlier. The Warriors were the only team to beat the Mavericks three times and had won six of the last seven meetings with them. But with the Warriors as an 8-seed, and the Mavericks as the best team in basketball, no one gave them much of a chance.

Nevertheless, the upset took place. Backed by a raucous home crowd, the Warriors defeated the Mavericks in just six games. Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Matt Barnes had the series of their lives, while the Mavericks appeared rattled by the Warriors’ unorthodox style. Nelson went small-ball on the Mavs, playing small forward Al Harrington at center, shooting guard Stephen Jackson at power forward, and Monta Ellis at shooting guard.

In the end, their frenetic style was simply too much for the Mavs. On May 3, the Warriors completed the upset by crushing the Mavericks, 111-86 in Game 6. It was the first time in American sports that a team that won 25 games less than its opponent went on to win the playoff series. In the second round they faced Jerry Sloan's Utah Jazz, who muscled their way to a five-game series win. It was a one-shot wonder for the Warriors, who lost most of their roster only a few years later. As for the Mavs, they remained competitive, but another early exit in 2008 cost head coach Avery Johnson his job.

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