Crushing of Minnesota is fifth win in six games
Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, March 17, 2007
In yet another show of Baron Davis' leadership, the point guard managed to sneak a defining moment in a defining game -- without being the Warriors' best player on the floor.
With 1:36 left in the third quarter of Friday's 106-86 thrashing of Minnesota, Davis was whistled for a foul on Kevin Garnett. The former MVP, frustrated all night by the Warriors' trap, started yapping at Davis, who yapped right back.
There was Davis, standing his ground and going toe-to-toe -- well, head-to-shoulder -- with the 6-foot-11 forward until both received technical fouls. And still, the jawing continued.
"I don't back down from nobody," Davis said.
Neither do the Warriors these days, at least not when Davis is in the lineup. Golden State obliterated the Timberwolves for its fifth win in the last six outings -- with the only loss coming sans Davis -- to increase its lead over Minnesota to 1 1/2 games in the race for the eighth playoff seed.
They also evened the season series at 1-1 with the rubber game set for April 15 in Oakland.
"It's a statement win for us," Stephen Jackson said. "Beating them, knowing we need this win, how it's going to make a difference at the end of the season. (It's) a statement to the league and the guys we're battling for the last spot."
The Warriors were blown out by 28 points when the teams first met on Feb. 7. At the time, Golden State was still sorting through its new pieces acquired from Indiana without their two best players in Davis and Jason Richardson.
But Friday marked the two-month anniversary of the deal that brought Al Harrington and Jackson to Oakland, and the Warriors are now 5-0 with that unit, which includes a mostly healthy Davis and Richardson, together.
Their surging defense held the Wolves without a basket for the first five minutes and to 36 percent shooting overall. Minnesota missed its first six field goal attempts, and even when one finally went down, it was waved off because of an offensive goaltend by Mark Blount.
It wasn't until Garnett backed in Harrington for a layup with 7:02 left in the first quarter that the Wolves netted their first field goal. By then, the Warriors had a 10-point cushion and were on their way holding another superstar in check.
One game after forcing MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzki into seven turnovers, Garnett had three in the first quarter and six for the night. Warriors coach Don Nelson instructed his team to mix up their double-teams -- leaving it up to his guards to either go at Garnett when he caught a pass or on the first dribble -- to throw his timing off.
Garnett finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Ricky Davis, who went off for 26 points against the Warriors back in February, had 10 on Friday. Blount, who ripped them for 22 points in Minnesota, had five points.
Meanwhile, Richardson followed up his seven-assist game against Dallas with eight more. And on a night when he and Davis initially had a tough time finding the net, the Warriors received a huge boost from their bench.
Monta Ellis, who started off the third quarter in place of Davis again to allow him more rest and be available for the final six minutes, showed off his hang time by repeatedly gliding through the lane for layups and finished with a game-high 24 points. Mickael Pietrus hit his first four shots, including a pair of three-pointers, en route to 13 points.
Up next: avoiding another Northwest letdown after a big win.
"We have to be just as focused as we were tonight," Richardson said. "Seattle's going to come for us, so we have to be ready for them."
E-mail Janny Hu at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Broe Knows Dont Hate....
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Not a bad article... even though I don't like Jenny Hu at all.
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What writers do you like?
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