OAKLAND, Calif. - From the first three-pointer to the last dramatic dunk, Baron Davis and his Warriors remained golden at home in the playoffs.
Davis had 32 points and nine assists, Jason Richardson scored 25 points, and Golden State remained unbeaten in Oakland during the postseason with a 125-105 victory over the Jazz in Game 3 of their second-round series last night, cutting Utah's lead to 2-1.
Richardson hit four of the Warriors' NBA record-tying 11 three-pointers in the first half, and Al Harrington added 15 points as Golden State shrugged off two tough losses in Utah with yet another confident, free-flowing performance. The Warriors finished with 15 three-pointers while forcing 25 Utah turnovers.
And Davis' brilliance finally ended a comfortable victory in the rocking arena where the Warriors beat top-seeded Dallas three times in the first round to the same 110-decibel sound track.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is tomorrow night in Oakland, with Game 5 back in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.
After Utah cut Golden State's 30-point lead in half during the fourth quarter, Davis closed the door, punctuating yet another memorable spring night with a vicious one-handed dunk into the mug of shot-blocking specialist Andrei Kirilenko with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left.
Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who landed gracelessly in California after riding high from Wednesday's emotional overtime victory in Game 2. Deron Williams added 14 points and six assists, but Golden State stretched its 21-point halftime lead to 30 midway through the third quarter before the Jazz finally responded.
The eighth-seeded Warriors have lost four of their five road playoff games, but they are 4-0 at home in the arena where they went 30-11 in the regular season.
Their playoff-starved fans were rarely quiet during Golden State's first home second-round playoff game since May 12, 1991.
Davis produced a personal highlight reel in the second half after Golden State faltered, mixing spinning passes and jumpers with the dunk that will live for decades in NBA highlight reels.
Nowitzki to be named MVP. Dirk Nowitzki has been chosen as the NBA's MVP for leading the Dallas Mavericks to one of the best regular seasons in league history, a team official told the Associated Press.
The formal announcement will come Tuesday at a news conference, said the team official, who requested anonymity because the announcement is pending.
Nowitzki and the Mavericks went from a league-best 67 wins to a stunning first-round elimination by eighth-seeded Golden State, with the big German quite un-MVP-like for most of the series.
Voting was completed before the playoffs.
The story was first reported late Thursday by ESPN.com.
Nowitzki becomes the first MVP in 25 years not to win a single playoff series; it last happened to Houston's Moses Malone in 1981-82.
Mavericks use option on Diop. The Dallas Mavericks exercised their option on center DeSagana Diop, keeping him with the team for the third and final year on his contract.
The 7-foot, 280-pound center averaged 18.3 minutes with 2.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 81 regular-season games with the Mavericks, including nine starts.
Brown has to miss Game 3. Utah rookie guard Dee Brown was forced to miss Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against Golden State after spraining his neck in a collision with teammate Mehmet Okur.
Brown took part in light workouts during a morning shoot-around yesterday but had difficulty turning his head after the injury in Game 2 of the series.