Dallas Mavericks Upset by Oakland Upstarts

The underdog Golden State Warriors defeat the heavily favored Dallas Mavericks, who had the NBA's best record this season. The game will be remembered as one of the biggest playoff upsets in professional basketball history.

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Back now with DAY TO DAY. There's a golden glow over northern California today because the widely reviled but locally beloved Golden State Warriors actually dismantled the Dallas Mavericks last night. This is one of the biggest playoff upsets in pro basketball history. The Warriors, who just barely got into the playoffs, won going away, 111-86, and they eliminated the team with the NBA's best record this season. NPR's Tom Goldman was actually at the game. Tom, how was it?

TOM GOLDMAN: I can barely hear you, Alex. It was that loud. It was extraordinary. This has never happened before in a best four of seven series, that the number eight seed has beaten a number one seed. But beyond those numbers, I personally - and I've heard a lot of people say - they have never experienced anything quite like this. I mean, everyone says, oh, we've got the best fans, we've got the best fans.

There's something going on here in the Bay Area at Oracle Arena that is fairly unique, and I think it's this rare combination of a team absolutely gelling, playing extraordinarily good hustling team basketball. Combine that with a city that's hungry for a winner - the Warriors haven't made a playoff appearance in a dozen years - and kind of this David and Goliath match-up, and it's just a combustible mix. And last night it was just absolutely unreal.

A good team like Dallas, I almost expected to see them start crying. They looked so lost in that third quarter when Golden State scored them 36-15.

CHADWICK: And there are so many great subplots in this thing, Tom - I mean Don Nelson, the coach of Golden State, right?

GOLDMAN: Oh, yeah. That's great. Don Nelson's the coach of Golden State and was the coach for Dallas for a decade, and he turned that team from a loser into a winner, basically. And while that was going on, he and Dallas owner Mark Cuban clashed, and by the time Nelson left in 2005, they were barely speaking to each other, and even during these playoffs they were openly feuding. Very strong personalities and kind of dissing each other at every opportunity.

So you had that going on, and while, you know, Nelson took the high road after winning and didn't, you know, throw any barbs at Cuban, you know this was sweet for Don Nelson to beat his former boss.

CHADWICK: So looking ahead, are the Golden State Warriors - I mean, are people really going to start taking them seriously as a team in the playoffs?

GOLDMAN: I think you have to. You know, Nelson did his best to keep saying Dallas is the better team, Dallas is the better team. Well, you know, when you win a best of seven series, winning four games from a team like Dallas, which was the top-seeded team in the strongest conference in the NBA, these playoffs now are absolutely wide open. And Golden State, as I mentioned earlier, is a team that is in synch completely right now.

CHADWICK: NPR's Tom Goldman from Oakland still rocking from last night's victory. Tom, thank you.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

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