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NBA PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

Mavericks stay cool, get even

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (17 points) draws a painful foul against the Nuggets. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (17 points) draws a painful foul against the Nuggets. (JOE MITCHELL/REUTERS)

The Dallas Mavericks finally discovered that beating the Golden State Warriors isn't as hard as they had made it look.

And it's even easier when Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson lose their cool.

Jason Terry scored 28 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 23, and Josh Howard led a 15-2 run in the third quarter that sent the Mavericks to a 112-99 victory over the Warriors in Game 2 last night in Dallas, evening their best-of-seven first-round series.

Dallas had lost six straight to Golden State dating to last season. The Mavericks even tried a new starting lineup in Game 1, but that only led to a 12-point loss.

They went back to the formula that won 67 games in the regular season and were in synch from the start. The Warriors hung tough, though, until everything changed midway through the third quarter.

Dallas already was leading when Terry dribbled into Jackson, drawing a foul, then kept going into Davis. All three wound up with a technical foul.

Davis got another technical, and was automatically ejected, for arguing about a foul with 0.2 seconds left in the third quarter. He was smiling and clapping at the time, although coach Don Nelson was warning him to cool it.

The Mavericks were well ahead when Jackson got his second technical with 4:34 to play. Whatever he said to get tossed wasn't nearly as bad as his reaction afterward. Teammate Matt Barnes tried covering Jackson's mouth, first with his arm, then with a towel as he escorted him to the locker room.

The series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 tomorrow night, and there's little doubt the emotions will remain high.

Cavaliers 109, Wizards 102 -- With LeBron James playing cautiously on a sprained left ankle, Drew Gooden scored 19 of his 24 points before halftime, powering host Cleveland to a 2-0 series lead.

James still managed 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists -- roughly his average this season. And when the Wizards trimmed a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to 6, James took control, scoring 13 points in the last period, including 9 in the final 5:14.

The Wizards kept pecking away at Cleveland's lead and closed within 105-102 on a 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes with 18 seconds left. But Larry Hughes then made four free throws as Cleveland closed it out.

Antawn Jamison had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Washington.

Spurs 97, Nuggets 88 -- After squandering most of a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, San Antonio held on at home to send the series back to Denver tied at 1-1.

Manu Ginobili had 8 points in the fourth quarter and Tim Duncan added 7 points in the final 12 minutes to save the Spurs from losing two home games to the sixth-seeded Nuggets.

Duncan led San Antonio with 22 points and five blocked shots. Tony Parker had 20 points, Ginobili had 17 (all but 2 in the second half), and Michael Finley added 14.

The Nuggets got within 91-88 on a 3-pointer by Allen Iverson with 45 seconds to play, but Duncan's layup and free throws by Finley and Parker put the Spurs on even footing with Denver.

The Nuggets were led by 26 points and 10 rebounds from Carmelo Anthony, and Iverson added 20 points.

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