Denver fought to yet another Game 7, putting all the pressure on the Clippers. An underdog with momentum is one of the most dangerous teams to face in an elimination game. Baron Davis knows all about that, being a crucial part of one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
“Even though Dallas was just a great team, and I think they ran up into a team that they couldn’t match up with.”Baron Davis, Legends of Sport
After finishing the ’05/’06 season last in the Pacific division, the ’06/’07 Golden State Warriors, coached by Don Nelson, showed signs of improvement. The team went 42-40 over the regular season. But before the Western Conference First round match-up with the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, few people saw that the Warriors could have a chance of beating the Mavs.
The Warriors saw it differently. During the regular season, the Warriors posted a perfect 3-0 record vs. the Mavericks, with an average winning margin of 16.3 points. Bering that in mind, the Warriors went to Dallas to open what happened to be one of the most exciting playoffs-series ever! The initial win gave the Warriors a tremendous winning impulse and charged them for the remainder of the series. The ‘war’ was just begging. It was David vs. Goliath story all over again.
“The thing about the Dallas series was everybody was up! Because pretty much everybody had a good game and a good match-up.”Baron Davis, Legends of Sport
Each of the Warriors leading scorers at the time felt he has a favorable match-up and could score at will. And the shots were falling for them, especially in the clutch-time, when the game was on the line.
“You gotta look at all the big shots Stephen Jackson hit, all the big plays Matt Barnes made, all the big stats by Monta Ellis. But Jason Richardson is the one that everybody forgets. He had like 42 in game three! Jason Richardson was going at them. He was lighting it up.”Baron Davis, Legends of Sport
Leading his team with a winning attitude Baron Davis took advantage of the favorable match-ups with Devin Harris and Jason Terry. He delivered, game after game, performing with great poise on both ends, and having an immense impact on the Warriors performance. He averaged 25.0ppg, 6.2 boards, and 5.7 assists per game while connecting 45.4% of his three-point field goals.
“For me, it was just ‘get to the bucket, get to the bucket, get to the bucket.’ Put pressure on the defense. In the playoffs, you play a tittle bit more with angst and fear. This fear of losing, or this fear wasting possession. I know now it’s a little bit different, but back then, it was all about possessions and playing a possession game. It was like get to the rim, get the best shot, make them play at our pace. I just feel there wasn’t anyone who could match up against me.”Baron Davis, Legends of Sport
More importantly, throughout this particular series, the Warriors showed up on the defensive end. Even though Dallas high-octane offense was ranked 2nd in the league in the offensive ranking category, the Warriors played with great passion, helped each other a lot, and limited the Mavs under 100 points margin in all four series wins.
“It was a team thing, and for me, it was just will; if we could beat them off from our will and our talent. And we gotta put ourselves to the position down the stretch.”Baron Davis, Legends of Sport
After splitting the first two games in Texas, the Warriors won both of their next two home games in front of the capacity crowd in unforgettable white We Believe t-shirts in Oracle Arena. Then, the Mavericks won game five in Dallas. Back in Oakland, on May 3rd, 2007, the Warriors were able to win game six by and complete one of the biggest upsets in the NBA playoffs’ history.
The place in Oracle Arena, down the hall to the visitors’ locker room, where Dirk Nowitzki reportedly pounded the wall after this defeat, is probably still marked with a white We Believe t-shirt!