OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jason Richardson and his Golden State teammates hadn’t used a zone defense much this season. On Friday night it proved to be the difference in helping the Warriors end a four-game losing streak.
Richardson scored 29 points and Cliff Robinson added 21 in the Warriors’ 101-91 victory over the Miami Heat.
Erick Dampier recorded his 11th double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Warriors improved to 17-2 in their last 19 games against Eastern Conference opponents, including 4-0 this season.
Switching to a zone at the beginning of the second half sparked a run that put the Warriors ahead by as many as 18 points.
“The zone slowed their game down a little bit and they couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Richardson, who nearly matched his season-high of 31 against the Sacramento Kings last Sunday. “We also know that if (Eddie) Jones gets going their whole team gets going, and the zone worked for us tonight.”
Lamar Odom scored 20 points for the Heat, which lost its second straight and third in four road games. Dwyane Wade added 13 points and John Wallace had 14. Jones, who had scored over 20 points in nine of 10 games, was held to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
“They got to every spot they wanted and made shots,” Odom said. “We just didn’t defend. We put too much pressure on ourselves when we put ourselves in a hole.”
Jones was bothered by back spasms and Wade left the game with eight minutes left with a sprained left ankle.
Dampier has had double-doubles in all but one game, including a career-best six straight. Robinson scored 20 or more in successive games for the first time since April, 2002 as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Mike Dunleavy added a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 12 points.
“We wanted to wear Jones down,” Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. “He’s one of their premiere offensive weapons and Jason held him. He torched us for 38 last year in Miami. Jason continues to do an unbelievable job.”
Miami was affected by the zone, missing 12 of its first 15 shots to open the second half. That allowed the Warriors to open their biggest of the night. The Heat shot 33 percent for the quarter while Golden State shot just over 50 percent.
“We weren’t getting the job done defensively in the man defense so we had to try something else,” Robinson said. “We had been giving up a high shooting percentage, so if it takes being in a zone, so be it.”
The Warriors took an 81-67 lead into the final quarter and were able to maintain a double-digit lead into the final minute.
“When we’re at our best offensively we can run up and down the court a little bit,” said Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. “It’s hard to do that when you’re taking the ball out of the net on every possession. For 40 minutes we didn’t guard with any sense of purpose whatsoever.”
Richardson highlighted a 15-4 run in the first quarter, scoring seven of those points as the Warriors opened a seven-point edge. They would extend that to nine early in the second quarter before the Heat responded with a run of its own.
Odom hit his first three shots of the quarter and Miami outscored the Warriors 19-8 to take a 42-40 lead with four minutes left in the half.
Robinson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to help the Warriorstake a 52-51 lead into halftime.
Reserve F Dan Langhi was waived by the Warriors before the game. … Golden State F Troy Murphy is within seven to 10 days of beginning shooting drills in his recovery from a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. … Sean Lampley and Cherokee Parks of the Warriors were both cut by the Heat in the preseason. … Miami’s Tyrone Hill began his career with Golden State in 1990. … The Heat’s bench outscored their counterparts 19-2 in the first half. … Warriors G Nick Van Exel sat out his second straight game with pain in his left knee. … The 6-10 Robinson made his 1,000th career 3-pointer in the firstquarter and is the tallest player to record more than 900 career 3-pointers.