Davis shares the wealth
Guard's 17 points aid hurricane relief and Warriors
By Geoff Lepper, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND — Upon his arrival at the Arena early Monday night, Baron Davis admitted that he had been thinking about facing his former employer of 51/2 years ever since Feb.24, when the New Orleans Hornets shipped their disaffected star to the West Coast.
Then Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in late August, destroying or damaging thousands upon thousands of homes in the region — including Davis' own Louisiana abode — and forced the Hornets to relocate to Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future.
"It's different now, with the circumstances and the Katrina stuff and them moving to Oklahoma," Davis said. "It's different."
So instead of playing for personal vengeance or to prove a point to the folks who once signed his paychecks, Davis spent Monday collecting on his own personal pledge: a $1,000 donation for hurricane relief for every point scored.
Davis poured in 17 points — and thus collecting $17,000 for the American Red Cross from his own foundation — and a matching amount from the Warriors' Foundation — in helping Golden State win its third straight contest, this time by a 99-83 count against the Hornets.
At 10-6, this is the fastest start by a Golden State team since 1991-92 and puts the Warriors alongside Dallas, Detroit and San Antonio as NBA franchises who have already hit double digits in wins this season.
Derek Fisher nailed five of six 3-pointers to tie Davis and Jason Richardson for team-high scoring honors. Troy Murphy added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Andris Biedrins grabbed seven boards — five offensive — in just 17 minutes.
For most of the 16,270 in attendance, however, Monday was all about Davis' point production. Warriors coach Mike Montgomery was all in favor of the donation schedule, especially if it coincided with the team's offensive game plan.
"If he makes 30 (shots), he can take 30," Montgomery said. "It's good for charity, too. Everybody wins."
Late in the first quarter, Davis got on the scoreboard for the first time by blowing past Hornets rookie Chris Paul — whom Davis had anointed a future All-Star — for a two-handed slam over P.J. Brown which led to a three-point play.
Davis followed with another slam — this time flushing with his right hand while Chris Andersen came over too late for the attempted block.
For the night, Davis was 6-for-7 on 2-point shots, including a pretty right-handed scoop across his body for a fast-break layup in the second quarter. Katrina victims would have received even more points if only Davis could have improved his 3-point shooting. The struggles on that front continued with a 1-for-9 night.
Montgomery said he thought those problems might stem from fatigue on Davis' part, which causes him to favor his touchy left hamstring.
"When you compensate, your hips change a little bit, your shoulders change a little bit," Montgomery said. "Everything changes just a little bit, and it's just kind of snowballed on him. If you see the ball coming out with good arc and rotation, you feel pretty comfortable with it. But it's been flat."
As for the game, the Warriors took control in the third quarter, turning a three-point game at halftime into a 17-point romp. Fisher scored nine points in that period, with three 3s, to kick-start the offense.
TIP-INS: The Hornets got in early enough on Sunday night, allowing former Warrior Speedy Claxton to hit one of his favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. Claxton, who went with Dale Davis to the Hornets in the Baron Davis deal, said he exchanged hellos with former teammates Richardson, Dunleavy and Calbert Cheaney. "I was here for two years with these guys, so they're friends of mine, and it was nice to see them," Claxton said. ... Dunleavy trudged off the court while holding his right hamstring late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a block of a Paul layup. He returned for the second half and finished with 10 points, although he didn't play in the fourth quarter. ... Warriors rookie Ike Diogu finally picked up his first assist of the season in 68 minutes.
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