OAKLAND, Calif. - Jason Richardson sized up Dirk Nowitzki on the wing, promptly drove right past him, twisted his way into the lane, and flipped in a can-you-believe this shot over his head for a three-point play that sent the Golden State crowd into delirium.
That's what a 13-year wait can do.
Fueled by a playoff-starved crowd and 30 points from Richardson, the Warriors regained their composure and the series lead with a 109-91 victory Friday night in Game 3 of the first-round series.
The victory moved the Warriors, who outclassed the top-seeded Mavericks in all phases of the game, within two wins of becoming the first No. 8 seed ever to win a best-of-seven series in the NBA. Golden State leads, two games to one, heading into Game 4 today in Oakland.
"The pressure is going to be on us because we won 67 games in the regular season, and we said all season long that our goal is a championship," said Nowitzki, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds in another poor performance. "Everything else would be a disappointment."
The Mavericks, who won 25 more games than Golden State in the regular season, must win three of five games against a team to which they have lost 8 of 10 in order to avoid being perhaps the biggest upset victims in NBA history.
"We just love playing them," Richardson said. "We get up for them."