Klay Thompson scored 14 points and Steve Blake added eight assists for Golden State (41-24), who won their fifth in a row and improved to a season-high 17 games over .500. The Warriors climbed to within 1.5 games of the Portland Trail Blazers for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Former Warrior Monta Ellis led Dallas (38-27) with 15 points. Jose Calderon had 13 points and five assists. Dirk Nowitzki added 12 points and now has 26,395 points in his illustrious career, tying him with John Havlicek for 12th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The Mavericks fell to eighth in the West, three games behind Golden State.
Dallas led 16-8 midway through the first quarter, but Golden State would go on a 37-11 run, bridging the first and second quarters, to take a 45-27 lead and complete control of the game. A trio of bench players acquired by Warriors GM Bob Myers led the way.
Crawford, acquired from the Celtics in January, provided the offense with 14 points. Crawford made his first six shots, including one off a tipped pass at the first quarter buzzer. Blake, acquired at the trading deadline from the Lakers, had six assists. Jermaine O’Neal, an offseason acquisition who returned in February from a wrist surgery earlier in the season, added six rebounds.
“I don’t think that enough credit has been given to him (Crawford) because we went out and got Steve Blake,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. “I’ve seen guys fold up the tent and I’ve seen players hold their head down and not be ready. He’s been a professional. He has a gift to score the basketball. When called upon he’s been ready and deserves a lot of credit. It’s been a big pickup for us getting him and he’s played great for us since he’s been here.”
Golden State played great for the majority of the game, but a brief lack of focus allowed Dallas to cut the lead to nine early in the third quarter.
Nowitzki was fouled with 2.5 seconds left in the first half and made two free throws. Vince Carter intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. Following two misses by the Warriors to open the second half, Nowitzki nailed his patented turnaround fadeaway jumper. In a span of 42 seconds, Dallas had cut the lead from 16 to single-digits.
The Mavericks would not get any closer. Behind the play of Thompson, the Warriors regained control with a 16-4 run. During the stretch, Thompson scored nine points and added a steal.
The advantage extended to 24 early in the fourth quarter and the only drama left was if Stephen Curry would extend his consecutive games with a 3-pointer made to 53.
When the Mavericks cut the deficit to 15 with over half a quarter to go, Jackson placed the starters back in. Curry went on to sink a 3-pointer with 5:07 left and the longest active streak in the NBA continues.
Golden State showed again why they should be considered one of the top defensive teams by holding Dallas to just 36.6 percent shooting. The Mavericks averaged 104.5 points and 47.3 percent shooting. The Warriors improved to 31-4 when holding opponents to under 100 points and 19-4 when holding opponents below 40 percent.
“Holding another team below 40 percent, just behind the Pacers as far as teams doing that this season,” said Jackson. “We defended at a high level and paid attention to details whether it be Dirk or any of their supporting cast and how we defended them.”
The Warriors' bench outscored the starters 59-49, with all 12 players scoring. Once a glaring weakness, the bench can now be depended on for the rest of the season to produce at a high level and taking pressure off Curry and the starters.
"I think coach has more confidence in us and we see that,” said Crawford. “It’s easier for us to play and you can get a little more extra time. It’s fun."
"It’s huge," said Harrison Barnes on the recent play of the bench unit. "You look at last year when we had Steph playing 45 minutes and Klay playing a ton of minutes. It’s hard to do that all season long. Now that our second unit is playing better, we can give those starters some relief and balance it out."
Golden State heads to Los Angeles for a showdown Wednesday night against a red-hot Clippers team that have won eight straight and leads the division by four games over the Warriors.