Davis sites, Warriors lose - SJ Mercury

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» Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:25 am
Davis sits; Warriors lose

By Marcus Thompson II

Knight Ridder

It will be easy for Warriors fans to write off the team's 91-85 loss Friday to the Utah Jazz at Oakland Arena. After all, point guard Baron Davis didn't play because of a strained left hamstring.

Believe it or not, it wasn't Davis' absence that cost the Warriors (1-1) their first 2-0 start since the 1994-95 season.

Davis couldn't have contained Utah center Mehmet Okur, who scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to go with 14 rebounds. Davis wouldn't have prevented the Jazz from grabbing 16 offensive rebounds. Davis couldn't have made his teammates knock down their free throws at a 75 percent clip.

The Warriors knew as much. That's why -- though it was just game No. 2 of 82 -- they held a 30-minute, nip-this-in-the-bud team meeting after the game. The shouts could be heard outside the locker room.

``We're trying to do something this organization hasn't done in a while,'' said Derek Fisher, who started in place of Davis. ``So for us, it is that serious right now. We don't want to start dropping games at home that we should win -- whether Baron plays or not.''

The Warriors are calling Davis' status day to day. He is expected to join the team on a three-game trip that starts Sunday in New York.

From a big-picture perspective, playing without Davis on Friday might help the Warriors. His absence is untimely because getting off to a good start is so important. But the Warriors need to learn to play without him.

Coach Mike Montgomery said he would love to get 75 games out of Davis. The difference this season could be how well the Warriors do in the games Davis misses.

The Warriors, more of a half-court team Friday, posted their lowest point total since scoring 83 in a loss at Indiana on March 11. They shot just 37.2 percent (29 for 78) from the field, including 23.8 percent (5 for 21) from three-point range.

Fisher finished with 18 points and six assists in 37 minutes. Guard Jason Richardson had 18 points and seven rebounds. But it took a combined 36 shots for the Warriors' two leading scorers to get those 36 points.

The points the Warriors did get looked tougher. Granted, Utah is a better team than Atlanta. Still, the offense lacked what fluidity it had against the Hawks on Wednesday, when Golden State shot 58.1 percent from the field. The Warriors didn't move the ball well, missed open shots and had a hard time creating opportunities.

``We've got to learn quickly how to play with each other,'' said center Adonal Foyle, who had two points on 0-for-5 shooting and pointed to his inability to finish as a problem. ``The style of play will be different without Baron, but we've got to learn how to deal with that.''

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