Warriors 97, Spurs 80
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Mickael Pietrus had one job Monday night: Make trouble for his former French teammate.
Parker, who played with Pietrus on the French national team, scored 29 points but was 9-for-19 from the field and got 11 of his points at the free throw line.
“In the NBA, we’re not friends,” said Pietrus, who only three days earlier criticized his teammates to Parker after a 25-point loss at San Antonio. “When we step on the court, I try to be successful with the Warriors. I sacrifice myself. I told him before the game I’m going to defend crazy on him.”
Jason Richardson scored 22 points as the Warriors snapped a season-long nine-game losing streak.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but we missed a lot of wide-open shots,” Parker said. “If we made a few of those, it would have been a whole different game.”
Parker also had five rebounds and six assists for the cold-shooting Spurs, who again struggled without center Tim Duncan. He missed his second straight game and ninth in 10 because of irritation in his left knee.
San Antonio is 5-4 without the two-time league MVP, who’s averaging 22.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would not speculate on Duncan’s status. “I don’t know,” Popovich said. “It’s a weird injury.”
Duncan stayed in the training room after the game and didn’t speak to reporters.
The 22-year-old Pietrus was Golden State’s top pick in last year’s NBA draft, taken 11th overall. He was in the starting lineup against the Spurs because “he did a good job against Parker last time,” coach Eric Musselman said.
His effort came after he berated his teammates Friday night for not playing together. Pietrus apologized before Monday’s game, then did something to make up for it.
“I’m very proud of my teammates. That’s the hardest we’ve played in three or four months,” he said. “I love the Warriors.”
Golden State split the season series with the reigning NBA champions and swept them in Oakland for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
Manu Ginobili scored seven straight points in the fourth quarter to pull the Spurs within 85-76, but Pietrus answered by swishing a baseline 3-pointer on the other end. Ginobili had 16 points off the bench, the only player aside from Parker in double figures.
After Robert Horry hit a long jumper just before the third-quarter buzzer to pull the Spurs within 68-56, Golden State came out for the final quarter with increased energy on the defensive end.
And Richardson scored the Warriors’ first eight points of the period, making back-to-back 3-pointers during the stretch. He also penetrated the defense and went baseline for an acrobatic two-handed dunk.
San Antonio, which had its three-game winning streak snapped Sunday in Sacramento, trailed by as many as 19 and shot 38.6 percent.
The Warriors shot 62.5 percent in the first quarter to build a 22-13 lead they never relinquished. Golden State led 45-33 at the break.
“They came out and jumped on us and we were never able to recover,” Spurs forward Malik Rose said.
The Warriors are on the brink of missing the playoffs for the 10th straight season, which would tie the Dallas Mavericks (1991-2000) for the league’ssecond-longest streak behind the Clippers’ 15-year drought from 1977 to 1991.
The NBA will speak to Dallas coach Don Nelson, who made contact with Golden State G Avery Johnson via e-mail and offered him a position on the Mavericks’ coaching staff starting this postseason. “We’re going to speak to coach Nelson and tell him that those types of actions aren’t appropriate,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. “I don’t think the intent here was to cause a problem, but it’s not allowed in our rules to have contact with players on other teams.” … Parker’s 29 points matched his season high. … Pietrus had a season-high seven rebounds. … The Warriors held the Spurs to 56 pointsthrough three quarters, an opponent season-low.