WASHINGTON (AP)—Don’t get Baron Davis wrong.
Of course he was excited about his first triple-double of the season. Of course he was thrilled his Golden State Warriors beat Washington 123-115 to end the Wizards’ six-game winning streak.
Still, Davis knew something wasn’t right Friday night: Gilbert Arenas wasn’t there.
“It was great. It was just playoff atmosphere. The only person we were missing out there was Gilbert,” Davis said. “That would have been it.”
In a rare instance of double triple-doubles, Davis had 33 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds to outdo Washington’s Caron Butler, who finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
“The fans got their money’s worth tonight, definitely,” said Stephen Jackson, who scored 28 points, including 10 in a 2 1/2 -minute stretch of the third quarter and two key 3s in the fourth as the Warriors pulled away late.
“We’re learning how to finish games,” Jackson added. “That’s a big plus we’re going to need.”
Butler, coming off a career-high 39-point effort Wednesday, did his best to keep Washington unbeaten without Arenas, its sidelined All-Star point guard. He had help, too: Antawn Jamison had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and rookie Nick Young scored a career-high 18.
Washington was 3-0 without Arenas, expected to miss at least three months after having left knee surgery Wednesday.
“This basketball team knows how to win without our super-duper-star,” Butler said. “Myself and Antawn as the leaders on this team just got to continue to step it up and continue to pull out-of-body performances out of a lot of guys.”
Davis’ teammates have come to expect brilliant showings from him.
“Baron can do that every night as long as he keeps getting to the rack,” said Al Harrington, back in the lineup after missing one game for personal reasons. “The more games he has like that, the more games we’re going to win.”
As Wizards coach Eddie Jordan put it: “Baron Davis controlled the game pretty much.”
Actually, Jordan uttered that exact phrase twice in the span of a couple of minutes.
Davis already had his triple-double by midway through the third quarter, while Butler accomplished the first of his career 4 minutes into the fourth.
After Butler’s 3-pointer as the shot clock expired tied it at 108 with 3 1/2 minutes left, Jackson came down and put Golden State ahead with a 3 of his own, then jawed a bit as he ran past the Wizards’ bench.
Davis’ jumper with 1:08 left put the visitors up 117-112, and his three-point play with 38 seconds to go made it 120-113.
Both of these teams are known far more for skill on offense than intensity on defense—no one in the NBA allows more points per game than Golden State, which came in giving up 110.1.
So it should come as no surprise that Golden State and Washington both made 51 percent of their field-goal attempts. And the Warriors went 16-of-31 on 3-pointers.
“A lot of times, all you can do is put a hand up and hope they miss,” Washington guard Antonio Daniels said.
Davis made it all go, and he took some inspiration from the NBA’s active leader in triple-doubles.
“I made a conscious effort of trying to hit the boards a little bit more. I’ve been watching Jason Kidd a lot, and the way he rebounds, to me, is impeccable,” said Davis, who only had one turnover. “He’s always been one of the guys that I’ve always looked up to and I’ve admired his game and tried to pattern my game after.”
Butler’s triple-double was the first for Washington since Larry Hughes on Nov. 28, 2004. Davis had one in the last game of last season. … With Arenas joining C Etan Thomas (out indefinitely after heart surgery) and F Oleksiy Pecherov (out at least two more weeks with a broken right ankle) on the sideline, the Wizards have 10 available players. Asked if he needs another, Jordan replied, “That is not for me to answer.” … Warriors coach Don Nelson could barely speak before the game because of a flu bug, so assistants Larry Riley and Keith Smart were more vocal than usual on the sideline. Smart addressed reporters instead of Nelson after the game.