The meltdown of a stretch of East Bay freeway may have kept fans tied up in traffic longer than usual after they left the Warriors 103-99 win against the Mavericks. Chances are they didn't care. After all the Maze meltdown has nothing on the Maverick meltdown and a traffic jam would just give everyone more time to talk about the bearded wonder, Baron Davis. Davis dominated the last three minutes of the game to give the Warriors a 3-1 series lead. The point guard fed Stephen Jackson for a three, he hit a go-ahead layup, fed Andris Biedrins for a dunk and then nailed a jumper to erase what was an eight-point Dallas lead in the fourth quarter.
Davis had 33 points overall and he and the most raucous crowd of these playoffs kept the Warriors in the game. How hot are things in Oakland right now? Jessica Alba was at the game, the first star sighting at a Warrior game since M.C. Hammer still had money. Davis banked in a three at the buzzer of the first half to tie the game at 49 after Dallas was up by 10 earlier in the half. That's two big leads to throw away in one game and 67 wins is an awful lot of victories to throw away in the course of two weeks. That looks like what the Mavericks have planned, though. They would be the first top seed to ever lose a seven-game series to the eight seed - the Nuggets and Knicks were in five-gamers when they turned the trick - and seem to be without an answer for slowing down the Baron and his Baronettes.
- Before we dot the i's and cross the t's on the Maverick obituary, though, let's recall this time last year when the Lakers held a 3-1 lead on Phoenix. The Suns reeled off three straight wins and knocked off Kobe to move onto the second round. They won't need to do that this year, they just need one more win to finish off L.A. after yesterday's 113-100 win. Steve Nash directed the victory - he had 23 assists - and Amare Stoudemire played the leading role with 27 points and 21 rebounds.
- The defending champs are dead and their future doesn't look so bright after the Bulls completed a sweep in Miami yesterday. The 92-79 loss was the latest signal that without a superlative Dwyane Wade the Heat are nothing more than a mediocre team and that may mean Shaquille O'Neal, on fumes all season, may be in even more of a complementary role when next season comes around. They will need several other players to boot and could need a coach since Pat Riley's passion for the job clearly runs hot and cold. The Bulls, on the other hand, look like an energetic, full-floor team that makes up for what it lacks in execution with verve and pace to beat the band.
- The Nets have a commanding 3-1 lead over the Raptors thanks, once again to their big three. Jason Kidd, making a "stunning" comeback from injury, dished 13 assists and V.C. and Richard Jefferson combined for 50 points in the 102-81 win. Chris Bosh needs to put the Raptors on his back to keep Toronto alive in this series and that means more than 5-of-12 shooting from the floor.