Davis takes up new cause in leading win over Hornets
Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Baron Davis had been waiting to face his former team since the Hornets bid him good riddance in February. Monday's game was supposed to be about revenge, about showing them what they were missing.
But a natural disaster and forced relocation changed all that.
"It's different now," Davis said before the game. "Under the circumstances, the Katrina stuff, moving to Oklahoma, it's all different.
"To me, I'm approaching it like I would any other game. I just want to get the victory."
He did that during the Warriors' 99-83 win over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets at the Arena Monday. And despite his mellowed tone, Davis still had every reason to have a big game in front of the crowd of 16,270.
Every point he scored was worth $500 in Hurricane Katrina relief donations, and while it took Davis more than 10 minutes to get on the scoreboard, his first points came in style.
He converted an easy dunk over P.J. Brown with 1:39 left in the first quarter and followed that with a highlight-worthy slam two possession later. Davis shook Paul on a crossover dribble and finished with a strong one-handed jam over Chris Andersen.
After the second dunk, Davis strutted toward midcourt with three mini-hops. He finished with 17 points, adding another $8,500 to the $72,000 already contributed toward relief efforts.
The Warriors Foundation matched Davis' $8,500 donation on the same night Golden State matched its best 16-game start since going 10-6 during the 1990-91 season. Davis' rematch with the Hornets ended in a win-win situation, and provided another sign of his improving health.
"If he can play at his pace for 40 minutes, that's when we'll know he's ready to go," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said before the game. "But he's getting closer. He's working pretty hard."
Davis has yet to find his shooting touch this season, partly because of his shot selection and partly because of his weakened hamstring. But Monday, he went 7-for-16 after a slow start and added nine assists.
"Shooting is balance," Montgomery said. "It's legs, shoulders being square, all of those little things. It'll come back around, and when it does, the ability to make that 3-point shot for him, it just creates havoc (for others).
"People have to cover up on him, then he's so much more dangerous getting to the basket."
Still, the evening wasn't all smooth for Golden State. Before the game, Davis predicted Paul would someday be "a great guard, an All-Star guard," and Paul showed early signs by running circles around the Warriors defense. He used the pick and roll and his quickness to post 12 of his 15 points in the first half.
And exactly one week after Mickael Pietrus went down with a sprained knee ligament, the Warriors received another injury scare when Mike Dunleavy tumbled to the court with 2:18 left in the second quarter.
Dunleavy was fighting with Paul for a loose ball after blocking Paul's shot attempt. He rolled over in pain and clutched his right side before limping off and returning for the start of the third quarter.
Dunleavy scored the first six Warriors points on his own poster night and helped Golden State build an 8-3 lead to start the game. The Hornets responded with a 15-5 run.
The Warriors broke open the game by with a 14-3 run late in the third quarter. Derek Fisher had three 3's during the stretch and Adonal Foyle added a three-point play. Fisher, Davis, and Jason Richardson led the Warriors with 17 points apiece.
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