The Dallas Mavericks followed two victories over playoff-bound teams with a dud against a Western Conference postseason contender Tuesday night, losing 108-85 to the Golden State Warriors.
Klay Thompson added 14 points to help the Warriors go ahead by 24 points early in the fourth quarter and create more space behind them in the crowded West standings. Golden State (41-24) is sixth in the West, three games ahead of Dallas (38-27) and Memphis (37-26).
Jordan Crawford scored 19 points and Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors cruised to their fifth consecutive victory.
Former Warriors fan favorite Monta Ellis scored 15 points, and Dirk Nowitzki had 12 points and six rebounds in a disappointing display by Dallas, which fell to eigth in the West. The Warriors outshot the Mavericks 51.2 percent to 36.6 percent and outrebounded Dallas 46 to 40, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The Warriors are 10-2 since the All-Star break and a season-high 17 games over .500. After winning 10 consecutive games earlier this season, Golden State is gaining steam again.
The Warriors are four games behind the Los Angeles Clippers (45-20) in the Pacific Division. The Warriors and Clippers meet for the final time this season on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
In the latest matchup pivotal for playoff positioning, the Warriors shook off a slow start by clamping down on defense and pushing the pace.
The Warriors ended the first quarter on a 21-6 run capped by Crawford’s long jumper as time expired to take a 29-22 lead. But the backup guard was just beginning his sizzling stretch – and so were the Warriors.
Crawford scored 12 points alone in the second quarter, finishing with the most points he’s scored since coming to Golden State in a trade from Boston in January.
Even still, most of the highlights belong to his teammates.
During one sequence, Andre Iguodala blocked Shawn Marion’s layup, then ran the length of the court to dunk Stephen Curry’s missed 3-pointer, sending most in the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to their feet. Bogut also finished an alley-hoop with one hand over Ellis, the player he was traded for from Milwaukee in March 2012.
The Mavericks still managed to end the half with the momentum. Nowitzki made two free throws before Vince Carter stole Iguodala’s inbounds pass and hit a 3-pointer before the buzzer sounded to slice Golden State’s lead to 55-44 at the break.
Nowitzki later moved into a tie with John Havlicek for 12th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Both have 26,395 points.
The Warriors’ defense dominated Dallas for most of the third and fourth quarters, though, smothering Nowitzki and closing out fast on shooters. The Warriors went ahead 81-57 with 11:29 remaining and never let the Mavericks move much closer.
Golden State is 2-1 against Dallas this season, with each team winning on its home floor. They meet for the final time this season on April 1 in Dallas.