Murphy scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Gilbert Arenas keyed a big first quarter as the Warriors matched their win total from last season with a 101-91 triumph over the reeling Memphis Grizzlies.
Murphy, one of just seven players to average a double-double in 2002-03, is the league’s only player to improve both his scoring and rebounding averages by 5.0 this season. A rookie last season, Murphy has added 17 pounds of muscle and his improvement has mirrored the Warriors’ success.
Golden State (21-26) broke open an 11-11 game with an 18-5 run late in the first quarter. Arenas had seven points in the spurt, which Erick Dampier capped with a runner with 69 seconds to go.
The Grizzlies never got closer than seven points in the second quarter and trailed 66-49 at the half. The 66 points were a season high for Golden State, which not only matched last season’s 82-game victory total but also surpassed its 2001-02 win total at The Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors, who were 14-27 at home last season, are 15-10 here in 2002-03, including 8-2 in their last 10 games.
“I’ve been doing it for the last four years but it’s all the more remarkable the team chemistry we have here and guys pulling for one another,” Warriors forward Antawn Jamison said. “To finally get to this point, where the only thing we really care about is winning games, is definitely an accomplishment.”
“That’s really an achievement to have 21 wins with one game to go before the All-Star break,” Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. “Give our guys a lot of credit.”
Golden State’s 21 wins are its most since recording 30 in 1996-97.
“We didn’t celebrate, it’s just another win,” Arenas said. “Progress as a team and as individuals is where we’re making strides. I think we’re just making smart decisions.”
“Give them a lot of credit,” Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. “They were extremely energetic. They were great on the boards. They’re terrific in the open court. They’re an exciting team. I’m happy for Eric Musselman, because he’s doing a terrific job with this ballclub.”
The Grizzlies have dropped six straight and nine of 10.
“They had a big first half,” said Battier. “To score 66 points in the first half is very good in this league.”
“Once again we dug ourself in a hole,” Memphis rookie forward Drew Gooden said.
Murphy’s reverse dunk with 6:08 left in the opening quarter put Golden State ahead 13-11. Jason Richardson added five points and Jamison chipped in four during the spurt.
The Warriors shot 52 percent (25-of-48) in the first half. Murphy had 11 points and nine rebounds over the first 24 minutes.
A 9-4 run by the Grizzlies over the final 4:18 of the third quarter got Memphis within 84-71. Battier had two free throws and Lorenzen Wright made a driving layup to open the fourth quarter, drawing the Grizzlies within nine.
Memphis was within 90-82 midway through the final quarter and had a chance to draw closer, but the Grizzlies’ Earl Watson missed a free throw and Arenas restored the double-digit lead with a 3-pointer.
Memphis shot just 7-of-23 from the field over the final 12 minutes.