Nelson closes in on record with Warriors win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—While Don Nelson may not like talking about his quest for the NBA’s career coaching victories record, his players are excited about the chase.
“We’ll talk about it when it happens,” Nelson said. “If it happens.”
Anthony Morrow(notes) scored a season-high 35 points and Reggie Williams(notes) added 23 to move Nelson a step closer to the mark. He has seven games left this season to tie and break Wilkens’ mark of 1,332.
“I just want to be able to do that for him,” Morrow said. “He gave me a chance in this league. I want to be a part of history.”
Nelson’s first chance to tie the mark will be Sunday in Toronto when the Warriors begin a four-game road trip. Golden State doesn’t return home until April 11 against Oklahoma City.
Ronny Turiaf(notes), who is battling the flu, said the only reason he even played this game is to help Nelson get the mark. He helped spark the Warriors with five blocked shots in the first half as Golden State beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time at home.
“I want to get out there to help in any way possible to help him get it because I know that deep down he wants to get it,” Turiaf said.
The only significance of this game between teams long eliminated from playoff contention was for individual accomplishments.
New York’s David Lee(notes) had one of his own. Lee had a season-high 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double. He became the first player to have at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 35, 20 and 12 against the Warriors on March 5, 1976.
But New York fell to 0-4 on a five-game road trip that ends Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It’s about getting wins, even at this juncture of the season when we know we’re not making the playoffs,” Lee said. “It’s disappointing we couldn’t get one. That’s two high-powered offensive teams tonight that aren’t the two best defensive teams in the league by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s a difficult loss for us. We need to find a way to win one in L.A. to salvage this road trip.”
The Knicks were a perfect opponent to help Nelson move closer to the record, as they play little defense and were careless with the ball with 23 turnovers.
New York quickly turned a 10-point, first-quarter lead into a 20-point, second-quarter deficit before making a run in the third quarter. Lee and Bill Walker(notes) fueled a 14-2 spurt and Toney Douglas(notes) got the deficit down to 81-80 when he banked in a 3-pointer.
But the Warriors responded with a 10-2 run and took a 97-89 lead into the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Devean George(notes) early in the period extended the lead to 109-96 and the Warriors coasted from there.
“We didn’t guard anybody, that’s all,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They eventually warmed up and they’re a very good offensive team. We just didn’t get into them and they got a little confidence, then we went to the bench in the second quarter and it all fell apart. We got back in the third and I thought we’d make a run at it but we didn’t guard well enough.”
The Warriors fell behind by 10 points less than 3 minutes into the game, leading to an early timeout called by Nelson. But the Knicks lead was short-lived and they soon found themselves facing a double-digit deficit.
Three straight baskets by Morrow helped spark a 12-0 run early in the second quarter that gave Golden State a 49-34 lead. After a 3-pointer by Walker ended the run, Morrow scored six points in an 8-0 spurt that helped the Warriors extend the lead to 20 points.
“We just went to the hot man and kept running stuff for him and he delivered nearly every time,” Nelson said.
The Knicks got the deficit down to 65-51 at the half but couldn’t get closer because of 15 first-half turnovers.
NOTES: Tracy McGrady(notes) did not play the second half with a sore left knee. He finished with three points in 14 minutes. … Monta Ellis(notes) missed his third straight game with flulike symptoms and will not join the Warriors for the start of their road trip Sunday in Toronto. … The Knicks signed C Earl Barron(notes) to a 10-day contract before the game. He did not play. … Golden State C Chris Hunter(notes) wore a mask to protect his broken nose.