OAKLAND -- The ordinarily fair city of Portland, Ore., has been nothing but bad news for the Warriors this season. Troy Murphy's nose imploded during a preseason visit, courtesy of an elbow from Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph. And Baron Davis' stiff knee helped torpedo a very winnable game in March.

Perhaps that's why Golden State coach Don Nelson is so wary about ending his regular season there.

The Warriors moved to the threshold of the playoffs with a 111-82 romp Tuesday night over the Fort Worth Flyers, or whatever Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was calling the B-team that he sent out for the opening tip at Oracle Arena.

But thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers scraping up an impressive 103-99 win on the road against the Phoenix Suns, the race for the eighth and final playoff spot will go down to the final day of the regular season.

So a victory tonight over the undermanned Trail Blazers -- or a loss by the Clippers (40-41) at home against the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets -- is what stands between the Warriors (41-40) and an end to a 12-season playoff drought that has featured more bad voodoo than the cheesy New Orleans-themed James Bond flick, "Live and Let Die."

"We're doing no celebrating," Nelson said. "We've got one to go, and I think it'll be our toughest game all year. It's just a feeling that I have that it's going to be a very tough game, much more difficult than you would think.


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... I think we're vulnerable."

The Warriors were anything but vulnerable on Tuesday, when Johnson gave forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard and guard Jerry Stackhouse the evening off and only used Jason Terry and Devin Harris for a combined 34 minutes.

With a game-high 22 points, Mickael Pietrus led a parade of seven Warriors in double figures in the scoring column. Matt Barnes finished with 19 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and five assists. Golden State made up for a cold shooting night overall by hitting half of its 22 shots from 3-point land and limiting its turnovers to just nine, compared to Dallas' 17. Without Nowitzki, Howard and Stackhouse, who average a combined 53.7 points per game, the Mavericks shot 36.8 percent.

Golden State had been hoping to clinch its first playoff berth since 1994 in front of a sellout crowd of 20,073 full-throated believers, but had to make do with winning its 30th home game this season, something it hasn't done since 1991-92.

"It's not disappointing (to not clinch at home), because we're going to see you all here next week playing Dallas or Phoenix," Warriors forward Al Harrington told fans after the game.

To do that, the Warriors must prevail at the Rose Garden in a game Nelson insists will be thorny despite the absence of several of the Trail Blazers' best players, including Randolph and rookies Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.

"We've had some bad luck there, but we're a different team than the last time we went up there," Barnes said. "We know what's at stake. We've got to do this for (Jason Richardson, Adonal Foyle) and this city. There's no letups."

Golden State took control on the scoreboard with 14 consecutive points midway through the first quarter, and Davis made sure the Warriors took control emotionally by using a quicksilver change of direction to blow by Devean George, then ram down a ferocious right-handed slam over a powerless Devin Harris at the 3:46 mark.

The Warriors stretched their advantage to 30-15 by the end of the period, at which point the rout was well and truly on; Dallas could come up with only a season-worst 31 points by the half.

There was a bit of heat with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter when Davis took exception to being rudely handled by Mavericks guard Greg Buckner in the backcourt. Buckner shoved Davis for added measure, and Davis fired back. Both players earned technical fouls.

"Who would have thought that we'd be in this position at the end of the year?" Davis said. "We're on a mission, and the mission is not over. We win (tonight), that's when the mission starts."

Contact Geoff Lepper at glepper@cctimes.com.

WARRIORS 111, MAVERICKS 82

  • TODAY: at Trail Blazers, 7 p.m. TV: FSNBA. Radio: 1050-AM