OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jason Richardson just might be the consistent clutch performer that the Golden State Warriors desperately need. That job is a bit easier when he gets this kind of help from Mike Dunleavy.
Dunleavy made the go-ahead shot with 37 seconds left and finished with a season-high 29 points in the Warriors’ fourth straight victory, 111-105 over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Richardson scored a season-high 35 points—21 in the second half—and added two late free throws. He was outstanding in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points and touching the ball on nearly every possession for Golden State.
The guard still hasn’t lived up to his vast potential in four NBA seasons, but this gritty win was another good sign. With Dunleavy right alongside, the two highest draft picks on the Warriors’ roster carried them to their longest winning streak under first-year coach Mike Montgomery.
“That’s the crunch time, and that’s when great players step up,” Richardson said. “That’s what I want to be. I’ve got a long ways to go, but I’m getting closer. Even if I don’t score, I’ve got to get the ball in one of my teammates’ hands.”
It was a surprisingly intense meeting between last-place teams. Toronto’s reserves outscored Golden State’s bench 50-2, but the clubs traded leads all night, with neither going ahead by more than six points.
Dunleavy, still fighting a flu bug that’s caused him to lose 10 pounds, hit four of the Warriors’ season-high 11 3-pointers.
Dunleavy has struggled under Montgomery, who has kept him in the starting lineup despite poor play. He still struggled on defense against the Raptors, but Dunleavy repeatedly found holes in their defense for easy points, scoring 18 in the first half and finishing three shy of his career high.
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell was infuriated by his team’s willingness to allow the slumping forward to score so many points—though both teams allowed plenty of open shots, mostly due to the clubs’ excellent passing.
“We don’t guard,” Mitchell said. “Not taking anything away from (Dunleavy), but he’s been struggling. We run defensive schemes, we play zone, but at a certain point, you’ve got to guard your man. You’ve got to take responsibility.”
Toronto tied it at 101-101 on Donyell Marshall’s 3-pointer with 1:58 left, but Dunleavy awkwardly banked in a short straightaway jumper with 37 seconds to play, giving Golden State a 105-103 lead.
“We’re just not getting it done. I can’t justify it at all,” Rose said of Toronto’s road losing streak. “There’s no excuse to be said. We play a young (lineup), especially with our starting unit, and on the road, we have a different mindset, as opposed to playing at home where everything is more familiar and comfortable, and the crowd is cheering for you.”
The Warriors played without starting point guard Speedy Claxton, who strained his groin late in Golden State’s victory over Denver on Monday night. Derek Fisher got just his fourth start since signing a $37 million contract with Golden State last summer.
Though exhausted after playing 41 minutes, Fisher scored 17 points and hit four free throws in the final 9.4 seconds.
“That was a very composed performance in the fourth quarter,” Fisher said. “I’m proud of the strides we’ve made in the last three weeks. We’re playing very well, and we’re finally getting wins to show for it.”
Eric Williams, who came to Toronto in the Vince Carter trade with New Jersey on Dec. 17, sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return. … When the clubs met in Oakland last season, the Warriors scored just two points in the fourth quarter, tying the NBA record for fewest points in a period. … The teams were tied at 22-22, 44-44, 55-55 and 88-88. … Richardson converted a four-point play in the third quarter. … Warriors F Eduardo Najera sprained a finger on his right hand during the first half, but played with the injury.