For the second time in as many nights, Jason Richardson came through for the Golden State Warriors when they needed him most.
Richardson scored 10 of his 18 points in the final six minutes as the Warriors ran their season-high winning streak to three games with a 104-101 triumph over the shorthanded Denver Nuggets.
"When the game's on the line is when guys step up," Richardson said. "You could have 24 points in three quarters and it doesn't matter as long as you win the game. I just tried to step up as much as I can and try to lead this team."
On Sunday, Richardson scored 26 points in the second half to help Golden State overcome a 10-point halftime deficit in a victory at Sacramento.
Richardson's outstanding play did not carry over into this game as he was just 3-of-10 from the floor and managed just eight points over the first 36 minutes. But he was 4-of-6 from the field in the final quarter.
"We came back pretty well in the fourth quarter," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "Jason Richardson came alive after struggling a little bit and he made some big plays for us down the stretch."
Denver, which has dropped six straight games without an injured Carmelo Anthony, was also without Kenyon Martin due to a back strain. Despite being shorthanded, the Nuggets opened an 87-80 lead following Marcus Camby's layup with 7:40 to go. But Richardson led the Warriors on a 13-0 burst over next three-plus minutes.
"It's difficult to even comment on a game where our players battled their rear ends off and really competed and trying desperately to win," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzedelik said. "We just didn't quite get it done plain and simple. I know it's an old cliche but I'm very proud of my basketball team."
Eduardo Najera started the Warriors' fourth-quarter run with a three-point play, Richardon followed with a pair of free throws and Mickael Pietrus, who scored a career-high 24 points, tied the game on a layup, 87-87.
"We have been playing harder during the second half and the fourth quarter," Pietrus said. "We just have to keep working hard and stay focused."
Troy Murphy, who had 16 points and 16 rebounds, converted a layup with 5:22 remaining to give Golden State the lead for good. Richardson scored the final four points in the decisive streak, including a turnaround jumper with 3:52 left.
Derek Fisher added 14 points, hitting three free throws in the final 25 seconds to help seal the win.
Pietrus scored 12 points in the second quarter and Cliff Robinson added 13 in the first half as Golden State led 53-46 lead at the break. But Denver regrouped during halftime and used a 13-3 outburst midway through the third quarter to take a 69-64 lead with 4:00 to go.
Nene scored four of his 19 points during the run, including a rim-rattling dunk to cap the outburst. Rodney White scored five of his season-high 17 points during the quarter to help the Nuggets to a 78-75 lead entering the final period.
The Warriors had been 0-13 when trailing after three quarters this season.
"We've tried our best to just stay with it," Fisher said. "A lot of time, life as well as in basketball, things seem to be tough for you and you have to remain persistent and our coaching staff has tried to continue to teach us as best they can and the players have remained as positive as we can."
The Warriors' Adonal Foyle had a pair of blocks and passed Joe Barry Carroll for the franchise record. Foyle has 838 blocks, one more than Carroll.
"It's good to be stopping baskets," Foyle said. "Any time that happens it's always a good thing."
Andre Miller had 21 points and a season-high 14 assists and Camby added 16 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which has lost 16 of its last 19 games at Golden State.
"We're not here for moral victories," Camby said. "We came to try and get a win despite who we didn't have or who we did have out there. The guys we did have played hard, competed. It's tough when you're not playing with your two best players on your team but we've been battling injuries all season and guys have found a way to step up."
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Posted by Chris at 3:27 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Clifford Robinson helped the Golden State Warriors end a long drought in Dallas and the Mavericks eclipse last season's home loss total.
Robinson gave the Warriors the lead for good with seven of his season-high 25 points during an early run as Golden State ended a 12-game skid in "Big D" with a 111-107 victory over Dallas, which suffered its sixth loss in 13 games at American Airlines Center.
With a franchise-best 36-5 home mark last season, the Mavericks looked to improve on their 7-5 record this season by continuing their home dominance over the Warriors.
"At home, we just come out a little bit more relaxed," Dallas guard Michael Finley said. "I don't know if it's the comfort of our own environment or what. We just don't have the (instinct) as we have on the road. That's something that hopefully we can turn around before the season gets away from us. We can't just show up and expect to win."
With Golden State trailing, 4-2, Robinson sparked a 12-0 run with seven of his 13 first-quarter points.
"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," Robinson said. "My game is coming around and I'm shooting the ball a lot better. I'm just trying to play better."
The Warriors never trailed afterward as Robinson's jumper with 6:16 left in the second quarter built the lead to 45-33 and a tip-in by Jason Richardson with 4:22 to go in the third period gave them their largest advantage at 80-63.
"To come out and put that kind of effort throughout the game shows we are improving," Robinson said. "To sustain that effort for 48 minutes and make plays down the stretch, it's a good time."
Dallas, which had not lost at home to Golden State since April 10, 1999 at Reunion Arena, battled back with a 12-0 third-quarter run that featured nine of Jerry Stackhouse's 19 points in the period and cut the deficit to 80-75.
"That's who I am," said Stackhouse, who started the second half. "Obviously, this is a new role for me, being a sixth man. Coming off of (halftime) warmups, I had my juices flowing and I was ready to go. Whenever (coach Don Nelson) calls on me to come out in a starter's role, I'm going to make the most of it."
Stackhouse's third-quarter effort provided Dallas with the most points by one of its players in a period this season.
But the Warriors closed the quarter with an 8-2 run and scored the first five points of the fourth period to take a 93-77 lead.
"They made shots, and they made shots all night," Stackhouse said. "They found open spots and they hurt us."
Finley scored nine points during an 11-0 spurt that drew the Mavericks within 93-88 with 8:03 remaining before hitting a jumper with 2:14 to go to cut the deficit to 103-101.
But Golden State held on as Richardson made two late baskets, the second of which was a resounding dunk over 7-6 center Shawn Bradley that put an exclamation point on the game.
"He came flying in and just sat on (Bradley's) head," Warriors forward Troy Murphy said. "It was great. It was a huge play for us. Jason Richardson is the best dunker in the league. He came in and really made a big play for us."
Murphy added a pair of key free throws, giving the Warriors a win in the opener of their four-game road trip.
"We've had some games in the fourth quarter where we haven't finished them off," Murphy said. "I think our last game against Charlotte, when we came back in the fourth quarter, gave us some confidence and we were able to carry it over to this game."
Murphy and Mickael Pietrus each scored 20 points and Speedy Claxton had 18 and 10 assists for Golden State, which has won four of its last six games.
"We had a great game," Pietrus said. "We shared the ball. Everyone enjoyed it. We are confident for the future."
Stackhouse scored 27 points, Finley added 24 and Josh Howard had 12 and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.
"Games like this are becoming a habit," Finley said. "Giving teams that we should dominate confidence throughout the game and letting them make more of a game out of it. When you do that, you're more succeptable to losing those ballgames."
Posted by Chris at 2:56 PM