DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points, Peja Stojakovic added 17, and Dallas Mavericks got back on track with a 101-73 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. With Utah’s loss to Houston earlier in the night, the Mavericks clinched a playoff berth with the win.
Stojakovic returned from a six-game absence due to a stiff neck and went 5 for 8 from behind the 3-point arc to give the Mavs a long-distance threat they’ve been missing.
Rodrigue Beaubois contributed 15 points, Tyson Chandler pulled down 17 rebounds, and Ian Mahinmi collected 13 boards for the Mavericks, who had lost four of six.
Monta Ellis had 18 points for the Warriors, who have lost four straight.
Recent defeats to fellow Western Conference powers San Antonio and the Lakers were blows to the Mavericks’ collective ego, and with the playoffs approaching, coach Rick Carlisle was eager for his team to get back on track, especially on defense.
Carlisle burned a 20-second timeout with 9:04 left in the first quarter to chew out his team over its defensive effort, and the Mavericks responded by holding Golden State to an opponent season-low point total.
The Warriors crept within 60-56 early in the third quarter on Ellis’ basket, but the Mavs finished the quarter with a 16-7 spurt for a 76-63 edge.
Dallas went on to lead by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter.
The teams met for the second time in five days. In the last matchup, Golden State raced to an 18-point first-half lead before Dallas rallied for a 112-106 road win.
Stojakovic buried 3-pointers on Dallas’ first three possessions of the second quarter, expanding an eight-point lead to 40-23 with 10:24 left until halftime.
Golden State narrowed the deficit to 51-43 at the break.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)