OAKLAND -- Oracle Arena might not have matched the level of sustained electricity it contained back in April, but the Golden State Warriors were much more interested Sunday night in recreating the outcome of last season's playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, not just replicating the atmosphere.
In banking three home victories over the Mavericks in the NBA's biggest first-round playoff upset, the Warriors seemed to uncork a highlight-reel move every couple minutes or so. Sunday was all about keeping things workmanlike and simple against a wounded Dallas team that was missing reigning league MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
Despite playing for the second time in as many nights and as many different time zones, the Warriors held up their end of the bargain with a 114-104 victory that was short on pyrotechnics but long on determination.
Monta Ellis scored 30 points and five teammates added at least 14 more, while Andris Biedrins' 20th double-double of the season (16 points, 14 rebounds) helped Golden State force a three-way tie for seventh place in the Western Conference standings. The Warriors, Mavericks and Nuggets all have identical 45-28 records with nine games remaining.
"A win is a win at this point," Davis said. "We played good defense. We rebounded well. We scrapped.
"Everything that you have to do on a back-to-back (set) when a good team is waiting, a playoff potential game -- we did everything necessary to win."
The Warriors might not mind if the season ended in a similar three-way tie. Golden State will lose individual tie-breakers to either Dallas or Denver because it is guaranteed to have fewer conference wins if their overall records are the same.
But if the Warriors down the Mavericks in Texas on Wednesday and handle the Nuggets in Oakland on April 10, then a subsequent three-way deadlock would send Denver and Golden State to the playoffs, leaving Mark Cuban fuming on the postsesason sidelines.
Not that Golden State is interested in pondering such details.
"The bottom line is the team that wins is going to make it," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It's not like we have to win all of them, but we have to win our percentages, that's for sure."
The Mavericks made their first six shots and the Warriors clanked their initial 10 attempts as Dallas opened up a 12-0 lead in the space of 3 minutes, 8 seconds.
A two-handed rip off an offensive rebound by Al Harrington with 7:56 left finally broke the Warriors' drought, and Golden State went on a 19-5 run that erased the Mavericks' lead. They opened up an eight-point lead at the half and extended it to 14 early in the third period.
Dallas closed to four points at 102-98 with 4:18 remaining, but Kelenna Azubuike dropped a 3-pointer (part of his 15-point, seven-rebound night), and the Warriors held firm down the stretch.