OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Corey Maggette’s nagging back spasms almost kept him from playing until a specialist paid a visit to his San Francisco hotel room only hours before tipoff.
That did the trick.
Maggette had 26 points and six assists, and Bobby Simmons added 22 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Golden State Warriors 94-86 on Saturday night for the club’s best start (2-1) in eight years.
“He did me wonders. Now I’m able to do things,” said Maggette, whose back has been bothering him since the preseason and forces him to take periodic breaks. “I’m just trying to battle it. I don’t want to sit out.”
Elton Brand had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Clippers, who led by as many as 23 on the way to their 11th victory in 14 meetings between the teams in Oakland.
Maggette scored 13 points in the opening period, making all six of his field-goal tries, and the Clippers shot 48.7 percent in the first half to take a big lead. The teams combined for 69 fouls.
Maggette shot a combined 10-of-34 in his first two games, then went 9-for-16 Saturday.
Chris Wilcox scored 14 points for Los Angeles a night after getting a career-high 27 in a 94-81 loss at Portland.
“Ever since I’ve been in the NBA, I’ve never started like this,” said Wilcox, a second-year center out of Maryland. “It’s a great feeling right now. Everything has worked out for us, and this is something to build on.”
Speedy Claxton had 18 points and nine assists before fouling out, Troy Murphy had 17 points before getting his sixth foul, and Jason Richardson added 15 points and six rebounds for Golden State in another inconsistent, cold-shooting night by the home team.
Not only are the Warriors missing shots, they’re struggling to convert key free throws—and much of the time they’re settling for jumpers instead of going hard to the hoop.
Welcome to the NBA, Mike Montgomery.
He is still winless in three games as an NBA coach after leaving a successful Stanford program for the new adventure that is the Warriors. Golden State is 0-3 at home for the first time since 1999, and this is its worst start since that season when the team began 0-4.
“We’ve got to put a complete game together,” Montgomery said. “We dug ourselves a huge hole. … For us to win, we’ve got to do it on defense.”
The Warriors opened the third quarter with a 14-4 spurt—six from Murphy— to pull within 55-51, and got within striking distance again late but couldn’t get closer than four points. Claxton made three free throws with 2:38 left, then Maggette hit a 3 on the other end.
Golden State forward Mike Dunleavy lost against his father, Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. The younger Dunleavy shot 2-for-12—missing all five 3-point tries—for seven points.
Montgomery believes his players are lacking confidence because of their offensive struggles.
“This is a gut check,” said center Adonal Foyle, who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. “We better not get that demoralized mindset.”
Golden State fans are already growing impatient and frustrated with a franchise that has missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons. When Chris Mullin took over as executive vice president of basketball operations earlier this year, he vowed to turn this team into a winner, but never said it would happen overnight.
The Warriors shot 5-for-19 in the first quarter and committed six turnovers. The ugly performance drew boos from the crowd. Golden State missed 10 straight shots during one stretch from late in the first quarter to early in the second.
“Anybody but the Clippers!” one man hollered in the game’s closing minutes.
Both teams played on consecutive nights for the first time this season. … Montgomery was pleased with rookie forward Andris Biedrins, the 11th overall pick of this year’s draft who made his NBA debut Friday and played seven minutes. “He needs to get stronger,” said Montgomery, who likes Biedrins’ athleticism and speed for a 6-foot-11 player. … Simmons already has two games of more than 20 points after never scoring 20 or more before this season.