Sports

Warriors are king

Monta Ellis (8) and the Warriors got past Ron ARtest and the Kings Saturday.
Monta Ellis (8) and the Warriors got past Ron ARtest and the Kings Saturday. MCT

OAKLAND -- After being defeated Thursday night by a Chicago team that came in 10 games under .500 and was without its three best players, Golden State Warriors swingman said Bulls guard Chris Duhon just wanted the game more than his Golden State counterparts.

Nobody could make a similar claim Saturday night at Oracle Arena.

It may have lacked grace and elegance, but in a desperately needed bounce-back game, raw, unadulterated energy propelled the Warriors to a 105-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Monta Ellis scored 34 points and added nine rebounds and Stephen Jackson had 26 points and six boards as the Warriors made it to the 30-win plateau despite a litany of problems that included: shooting percentages 41.8 from the floor, 22.6 on 3-point goals and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line; star guard Baron Davis being one foul from disqualification for the final 18 minutes and 27 seconds; and a scary third-quarter fall for Jackson that left him clutching his left ankle in pain.

Mike Bibby had 24 points for Sacramento and Ron Artest added 21, but the Warriors would not be denied.

Tied after three quarters, Golden State turned an 87-86 lead with 7:31 to go into a 98-90 advantage at the 2:24 mark when Jackson converted a fast-break layup off of Matt Barnes' block of a layup attempt by John Salmons. But after Davis finally fouled out at the 2:11 mark, the Kings roared back, eventually cutting the Warriors' lead to 100-98 when John Salmons converted a three-point play with 35.1 seconds to go.

Golden State nearly lost the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession, but Ellis -- who pounded the Kings in the fourth quarter, dropping 16 of the Warriors' 27 total points -- converted a jumper in the right corner off a Barnes inbounds pass to make it 102-98, Warriors, with 12.9 seconds left.

Ellis hit one free throw and Jackson converted a pair as Sacramento fouled to say close, but the win wasn't certain until Artest's final trey caromed off the rim at the buzzer.

That allowed the Warriors (30-20) to breathe a gigantic sigh of relief. They simply couldn't afford another home loss to a sub-.500 team, not in this month of February where they're supposed to be making their move on the rest of the West. And they absolutely had to wipe the taste of Thursday's debacle out of their mouths.

"After that loss, it seemed like everybody got so down on us that we got down on ourselves," Warriors forward Al Harrington said. "It's crazy. I've never seen this before. . . . We were just very disappointed in ourselves. We usually don't get that way, but we realized we did pass up a golden opportunity. We felt that we were starting to turn a corner, that we were playing better."

The Warriors came out riding that emotion, leading by nine points after the first quarter, and touched double-digits at 35-25 when Mickael Pietrus dropped a 3-pointer with 9:11 to go before halftime.

But things have seldom come easy for the Warriors this season, and Saturday proved no different. A 12-2 run for the Kings, keyed by six points from Salmons, drew Sacramento back even at 37-all with 5:05 remaining.

From there, tensions between the sellout crowd of 20,018 and the officiating crew of Dick Bavetta, Violet Palmer and Leroy Richardson began to rise. The initial point of contention came when Biedrins lost a rebound out of bounds after being sandwiched by two Kings at the 2:07 mark.

The 21-year-old, normally as mild-mannered a player as you'll find in the NBA with regard to referee interactions, complained to Richardson about getting bopped on the nose by Sacramento guard Kevin Martin, and Richardson nailed him a technical foul.

Artest evened up the score by earning a "T" of his own for an overly exuberant celebration of his 1-on-0 fastbreak and ensuing dunk with 8:24 remaining in the third quarter.

The Warriors reclaimed the lead in that category just 76 seconds later when Miller flopped his way into eliciting a cheap foul called by Richardson against Davis, his fourth personal. Nelson then got docked by Richardson, a decision that drew an agitated response from the coach, but that was nothing compared to the fans' catcalls when Davis earned foul No. 5 with 6:27 remaining in the quarter.

Nelson stuck with his captain, however, and Davis responded with three rebounds and two assists in the fourth period.

  Comments