13 Years Ago the #8 Seed "We Believe Warriors" Went Up Against #1 Seed Dallas Mavericks
Man do I miss basketball. I think I would give anything for a crumby first seed vs eighth seed sweep. Anything to get basketball back, anything to bring me the playoffs. Who knew how good we had it. Ready to feel old? The “We Believe Warriors” history making series vs the 67-15 Mavericks was THIRTEEN YEARS AGO?! Long before the days of Steph, Klay and Draymond, The Warriors were a vastly different basketball franchise. Having not made the playoffs since the 93’-94’ season, in which they were swept in three games, the Golden State fans were starving for a winner. What they got was one of the most memorable series of all time. The mismatched group lead by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Matt Barnes and Monta Ellis were equal parts volatile, unbridle potential, and unbelievably fun to watch. The 42-40 eighth seeded Warriors were facing a tall task, the 67-15 1 seed Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs were -1200 favorites going into this series. Up to this point in NBA history no 8th seed had ever upset the top seed. But there was no 8th seed in history quite like this one. Armed with a little bit of Don Nelson magic, the Warriors actually finished the regular season on a 16-5 run, coming into the series red hot. The Warriors came out swinging in game one on the road, shocking everyone but themselves and stole game 1 with a final score of 97-85. Lead by Baron Davis 33 points, 14 boards, 8 assists. He scored 19 of his 33 in the 3rd Quarter alone. Baron Davis was not going to allow the warriors to lose this game.
Game 2 Dallas bounced back winning 112 to 99. Jason Terry had 28. Dirk had 23 on a rather bland performance. The biggest difference in this game compared to Game 1 was Jerry Stackhouse adding 17 points in 29 minutes off the bench. You couldn’t help but think the Mavs would cruise right into the second round after this performance.
The World famous Oracle Arena was home for game 3. This was the Jason Richardson game. It’s not ESPN until Jason Richardson dunks, well it’s actually not a playoff upset for the ages unless JRich drops 30 points. Nothing quite like playoff basketball in Oakland, the Warriors got themselves back in driver seat in game 3 winning 109-91. Warriors up 2-1.
Game 4 was again in Golden State, and it was the closest game of the series. At the end of the first half with the clock winding down Davis throws up a heave from 49 feet out. As the buzzer sounds, swish, a perfect symbol of the series for the Warriors. The magic was REAL. The atmosphere was electric. The Warriors would close out a 103-99 victory. The improbable was unfolding as the Warriors took a commanding 3-1 series lead.
As the series shifted back to Dallas the Mavericks found themselves digging deep to pull out a game 5 victory, led by 2006 finals MVP Nowitzki’s 30 point performance.
Teams that lead 3-2 in a best of seven games series go on to win 84.8% of the time. The Warriors innovative small ball lineup proved to be too much for Dallas to match. Golden state finished the series in game 6 winning111-86 the. A 25 points thrashing. The Warriors had won their first playoff series since 1991 and shocked the basketball world.
The Warriors would go on to the 2nd round and lose in 5 games to the Utah Jazz. But at least we got to witness one of the most brutal posters in NBA history. Baron Davis drives the lane and snatches Andre Kirilenkos soul.
For a twelve-day span in late spring of 2007 the NBA world witnessed history. A team, a series, a “belief”, that won’t ever be forgotten. The feeling of watching those games being played and the ever-growing confidence and jubilee from the Oracle crowds are something that will stick with me forever. While short lived, the Baron Davis led warriors were the most fun team in the world. Just as fast and free as they played, they were gone. But not before teaching the entire NBA community a lesson, nothing can stop a belief.