OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The NBA’s most exciting team of the spring is no longer the most depressing club of the fall.
After waiting longer than any other team, the Golden State Warriors finally cracked the win column Friday night—and they think a few more victories are on the way now that their whole roster finally is back together.
Baron Davis had 21 points, 12 assists and a career-high five blocked shots for the Warriors, who were the NBA’s only winless team left. Golden State lost its first six, including three straight narrow defeats at home, while playing without suspended swingman Stephen Jackson.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says—we had a monkey on our back,” said Matt Barnes, who had 17 points and a career-high eight assists. “It was tough, especially the way we finished last year. I think this will lead to better things for us now.”
With Biedrins’ strong inside play and a zone defense that forced the Clippers into lazy outside shots, the Warriors won their final game without Jackson, who got a seven-game suspension for legal trouble back in Indiana. The co-captain will rejoin the club for Sunday’s game at Toronto in the start of a five-game road trip.
“It’s a great feeling, and now this will be a nice flight (Saturday),” said Harrington, who has three straight 20-point games. “Now we get Captain Jack back, and hopefully start to make some noise.”
Tim Thomas scored 25 points and Chris Kaman had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who seemingly took nearly every shot from the paint or the 3-point line in their fourth straight loss at Oracle Arena. Los Angeles launched 29 3-pointers, more than in any game this season or last, and just three off the 1997 franchise record of 32 attempts.
“They were more hungry for a win tonight,” Thomas said. “They did everything possible. They wanted it more.”
Golden State rolled off a late 13-5 run led by Davis, who drove for an acrobatic layup before feeding Monta Ellis for a dunk with 1:35 left, putting Golden State up 118-101.
Corey Maggette added 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists before straining his hamstring for the Clippers, who have lost three of four after a 4-0 start. They beat Golden State 120-114 at Staples Center two weeks ago, with Kaman getting 26 points and 18 rebounds against Biedrins.
“When I saw (Biedrins) at shootaround, I asked him if Kaman sent a limousine for him,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “He didn’t get it at first. I had to repeat it three times.”
He got it soon enough. Biedrins and Kaman staged another entertaining low-post battle in the rematch, trading baskets and rough defense.
“Coach always picks on me. I don’t know why he does that,” Biedrins said with a grin. “I think we all gave a little bit of extra effort to win this game.”
While Biedrins sat with foul trouble, Patrick O’Bryant had a career-high 10 points—including a two-handed dunk over Kaman in the third quarter—before fouling out with 7:42 to play.
O’Bryant, the Warriors’ first-round pick in 2006, has barely played with the club, even spending much of last season in the D-League. The lanky 7-footer doesn’t really fit the small, speedy lineups preferred by Nelson, who was hired two months after the Warriors drafted O’Bryant.
“We got beasted on the boards,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “They just came at us in waves, and our guys just didn’t handle it.”
Two nights after blowing a 22-point lead in a loss to an exhausted Detroit club, the Warriors played another strong first half. Harrington scored 13 points in the first quarter, and Golden State led 64-55 at halftime.
Clippers rookie F Al Thornton sprained his right ankle early in the third quarter and didn’t return. … Warriors F Mickael Pietrus missed his second straight game after the birth of his first child with his longtime girlfriend. He’s expected to rejoin the club in Toronto. … Harrington converted a four-point play—a 3-pointer while being fouled—for the game’s first points. Thomas got his own four-point play early in the third quarter, and Barnes had a chance for a third on the Warriors’ very next shot—but he missed the free throw.