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Warriors Wrap

February Brings Two Warrior W's!

With the win-starved month of January behind them, the Warriors welcomed the hobbled Sacramento Kings to Oakland last Wednesday. Sans Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, and Cutino Mobley, the Kings barely resembled royalty. This might just be the kind of Sacramento team the Warriors could knock off and for much of the game; it appeared this just might happen. Then, Sacramento's Brad Miller decided to take over.

The first quarter was tight with the score knotted at 21 apiece with little more than a minute left to play. Brad Miller hit a pair of clutch jump shots and a buzzer beating three pointer to open up a 28-22 lead over Golden State. Mediocre shooting by the Kings in the second quarter allowed the Warriors to keep things close. Mediocre shooting turned into abysmal shooting on the Kings part as the Warriors went on a run, closing out the first half with a 55-43 lead.

Sacramento's Brad Miller and Mike Bibby led the charge for the Kings in the third, rallying their team to within four halfway through the third quarter and eventually closing the gap to three points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Things tightened up in the fourth with neither team able to pull away.

Regulation ended with a series of missed shots by both teams and a score of 96-96. Golden State started strong with Mike Dunleavy and Jason Richardson contributing buckets for a five point Warriors lead. This hot start quickly faded as the Kings climbed back into the game. Down by two with five seconds left, Golden State's Jason Richardson was at the line. Spectacular up until this point, Richardson threw up two clunkers, sealing Golden State's fate. Final score, 111-107 in Sacramento's favor.

Friday would provide a quick opportunity for the Warriors to cleanse their palate of Wednesday's tough loss. Carrying the baggage of fewer wins than Golden State, New Orleans arrived in Oakland. A stellar performance by Golden State's bench keyed a 15-3 run at the end of the fourth that clinched Golden State's first February win and their first in seven games.

However, the taste of victory would be short lived as the Warriors traveled to Denver for a game against the Nuggets on Saturday. The Nuggets made appropriate adjustments after Jason Richardson unloaded 42 points and handed Denver a loss in January and limited him to a paltry 13 in this game.

Appearing flat and out of synch, the Warriors were down 14 by the end of the first quarter. Without any other significant Warrior offensive contributions, the Nuggets lead ballooned to 22 by halftime. No rally was in sight as the Warriors were never able to make a significant dent in the Nuggets generous lead. Denver would close things out at 107-91.

A trip to Florida Sunday failed to provide much respite as Golden State went up against the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat. A terrible performance by the second half of Miami's dynamic duo, Dwayne Wade (aka-'Flash') did little to prevent the Heat from notching another victory. The Warriors came with energy, but little else. A pair of Mike Dunleavy free throws and a Speedy Claxton jumper brought Golden State within three in the fourth quarter, but Shaq and his cohorts pulled away in the later stages of the game, winning by nine, 105-96.

Extending their stay in Florida, Golden State battled Orlando on Tuesday. A heroic effort by Jason Richardson in the fourth put the Warriors in a position to claim a hard fought road win. There were a number of firsts in this game- the first time Golden State has won in Orlando in 13 years and the first time the Warriors topped 45% shooting (47.6%) in nine games.

Friday the Warriors will match up against the Hornets in New Orleans. A week removed from their loss in Oakland, revenge will be on the minds of the Hornets. If the Warriors can find their shooting game as they did against Orlando, Golden State may be well positioned to knock off New Orleans again.

The week ends in Oakland with the searing Phoenix Suns. While the Suns have stumbled somewhat recently without Steve Nash at the helm, they arrive in Oakland at full strength. With the dynamic and creative Nash leading the charge, the Phoenix Suns promise a daunting challenge for Golden State.