Warriors aim to put stinker behind them
Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, November 6, 2005
New York -- After enduring a humbling loss to Utah and a post-game rant from assistant coach Keith Smart, it was only appropriate the Warriors landed in the city that never sleeps Saturday morning.
Not many could have rested well knowing that an under-manned Jazz team shooting 40 percent and committing 16 turnovers walked out of the Arena in Oakland with a victory Friday night.
The nightmarish reality was that as poorly as Utah played, the Warriors were even worse.
"Personally, I stunk," Adonal Foyle said after the game.
The Warriors center took the blame for missing two easy layups and committing two turnovers during Golden State's first seven possessions, but there was plenty of stink to go around Friday.
Defensively, the Warriors broke all of their rules against the Jazz. "No cutters cross your face," coach Mike Montgomery had said before the game. Yet Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko and center Mehmet Okur repeatedly slipped past their defenders.
The Warriors were supposed to make the Jazz shoot jumpers, but guards Gordon Giricek and Keith McLeod penetrated almost at will, and Utah scored a third of its points inside the paint.
Montgomery also wanted at least one guard, preferably two, to grab more than five rebounds. Only Jason Richardson did so with seven.
"There are specific things that we have to get better at," Foyle said.
Golden State gets its first chance at redemption against the Knicks this afternoon, when Baron Davis could be back in the lineup. Davis, who missed his first game as a Warrior on Friday with a strained left hamstring, participated in about one-third of the Warriors' practice in New York. He remains a game-time decision.
Without their point guard, Golden State settled for jump-shots and misfired against Utah, then compounded their shooting problems by missing free-throws. Troy Murphy set a career-high with 14 free-throw attempts, but made only eight. Richardson went 1-for-3 and Mickael Pietrus went 2-for-6. Oddly, the only Warrior perfect from the line was Foyle, who made four.
Foyle and guard Derek Fisher said they didn't know if Golden State would have played any better had Davis been available, but the Warriors' season may depend on it.
"Whether Baron plays or not, whether anybody plays or not, we have enough players on this team to figure out ways to win games," Fisher said.
Happy homecoming: Brooklyn native Chris Taft expects 20 friends and family members to watch his pro debut at Madison Square Garden.
"It's great, it's going to be very, very exciting," Taft said. "Get to go back home and be in the NBA, which is my dream."
Taft has had a dream start to the regular season. Though he reported to camp out of shape because of a summer back injury, pulled his groin the first day of practice, and never looked impressive in exhibition games or practices, he has been solid off the bench for the Warriors.
Taft had four points, four rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes in the Warriors season opener, and added another two points and four rebounds Friday.
"He just played," Montgomery said this week. "We've been working Chris pretty hard, pushing him, making him run up and down and all that stuff. He's made some progress."
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