OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Brandan Wright scored a career-high 25 points, Monta Ellis added 21 and the Golden State Warriors got rolling right after a power failure during their 119-111 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Stephen Jackson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors, who overcame everything from Jamal Crawford’s continued non-injury absence to that partial blackout in the third quarter to win for the fourth time in six games.
Most of the lights abruptly went out at Oracle Arena with 8:24 left in the third quarter, and only some came back on moments later. After a delay of nearly three minutes, the officials decided to keep playing—and Golden State scored the next eight points while making a 21-8 run, blowing open a close game.
In their third stop on a five-game road trip, the Sixers lost their second straight following a four-game win streak. Samuel Dalembert had 15 points and a career-high 23 rebounds for the Sixers, who have lost four straight in Oakland.
Crawford, the veteran guard averaging 19 points per game, missed his third straight game while healthy—although this time, it was his decision.
Coach Don Nelson benched Crawford for both of the Warriors’ games earlier this week as part of his plan to give more playing time to his youngsters at the expense of a veteran who Nelson doesn’t want back next season. Nelson wanted Crawford to play against Philadelphia, but Crawford asked for a little practice time before jumping back into action.
Nelson appeared to turn over most of the head coaching responsibilities in Friday’s game to assistant Keith Smart, who gave out directions from the sideline and ran the timeout huddles while Nelson sat on a chair nearby. Nelson has turned over the responsibility of teaching defense to the NBA’s worst defensive club to Smart.
Whatever Smart or Nelson did, something worked in the second half. Wright and Kelenna Azubuike scored 11 points apiece in the third quarter on combined 10-of-12 shooting both before and after the lights went out, and Golden State comfortably maintained the lead in the fourth with an effective fast break and solid jump shooting. Azubuike finished with 15 points, and Anthony Morrow added 16.
The Warriors played without injured center Andris Biedrins and promising rookie forward Anthony Randolph, who strained his groin in Golden State’s loss to the Lakers on Wednesday. The biggest beneficiary of Randolph’s absence was Wright, who only returned to action last week after missing 27 games since early January with a shoulder injury.
While Randolph’s talents have been the Warriors’ brightest spot during Nelson’s plan to showcase his youngsters, Wright is showing he can’t be forgotten late in his second NBA season. He also grabbed six rebounds and made all five of his free throws.
Biedrins missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Reserve F Jermareo Davidson also sat out with an injury, although he dressed for the game. … The arena lights were mostly back on by late in the third quarter. … Philadelphia’s West Coast trip still includes stops in Sacramento and Portland.