DAVIS MAKES KEY PLAYS LATE AGAINST WINLESS NEW YORK
By Joe Stiglich
There are nights when it all comes so easily to Baron Davis.
And then there are nights like Friday, when the ``SportsCenter'' highlights are few, and every point tough to come by.
The Warriors point guard didn't have the prettiest line against the New York Knicks -- 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting and 12 assists -- but he came up the with the clutch plays down the stretch as the Warriors held on in an 86-84 nail-biter that kept the Knicks winless through five games.
``I'll take Baron half, full, three-quarters, he's just as effective,'' Warriors center Adonal Foyle said. ``He can make things happen. His presence alone creates opportunities for other people.''
Davis created an opportunity for Foyle for the winning points, finding the big man open in the key. Foyle banked the shot in with 48 seconds left to put the Warriors up for good 85-84.
After Malik Rose missed a jumper at the other end, Davis drove hard to the basket and drew a foul from Antonio Davis.
He made one of two free-throw attempts with 11.6 seconds left for an 86-84 lead.
But there was still work to be done.
With New York playing for one last possession to tie the score, Davis poked the ball away from Jamal Crawford, and the ball rolled loose as time expired.
Cue the celebration for 19,596 fans, and the end of a gritty night's work for Davis.
``The whole game was frustrating for me,'' said Davis, who had just one point on 0-for-5 shooting in the first half. ``You've just got to keep fighting. It was an ugly win, but it was a `W' .''
Davis' frustration as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half typified his team's.
He walked off the floor during a timeout jawing at somebody -- it was unclear whether it was a referee or a Knicks player -- and eventually drew a technical foul before play restarted.
It was one of Davis' more forgettable halves of basketball in a Golden State uniform. He was badly outplayed by Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Knicks.
But the Warriors showed some resiliency battling back from a nine-point halftime deficit, turning up the intensity on defense and finally knocking down some clutch shots.
Jason Richardson finished with 24 points and Troy Murphy added 19 points and 11 rebounds.
For the game, the Warriors hit just 38.7 percent of their shots (33 for 76) but pushed their record to 4-2.
``I think we're finding this team can win basketball games, even when we don't score 100 points,'' Derek Fisher said.
Give an assist to assistant coach John MacLeod, who lit a fire under the team with a fire-and-brimstone halftime speech.
It reminded Murphy of his days playing under MacLeod at Notre Dame.
``It was a good speech, the kind he used to give us my freshman year at Notre Dame,'' Murphy said. ``I've heard it before.''
The Warriors are hardly firing on all cylinders offensively. Mike Dunleavy was a non-factor again, hitting just 1 of 6 shots and scoring four points.
But Davis helped get things going in the third quarter. He found Richardson for two alley-oop buckets, and finally notched his first field goal on a layup at 6:55 of the third.
Murphy and Davis then hit back-to-back three-pointers to tie the score 54-54 about a minute later.
Davis' free throws gave the Warriors their first lead, 58-57, at 3:02 of the third.
But he went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 2:14 left in the third and didn't return until 6:23 was left in the fourth.
The Warriors stayed even with the Knicks while Davis was out. The teams began trading baskets as time was winding down in the fourth, setting up the dramatic finish.
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