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Warriors Wrap

2-6 in February Spells Heartbreak

February started in uncharacteristic winning fashion for the Warriors with victories over the abysmal New Orleans Hornets and the faltering Orlando Magic in the span of five games. Granted, these two victories were accompanied by losses to Sacramento, Denver, and Miami, but two victories in February doubles the number of victories Golden State had in the entire month of January.

Despite an inspired win over the Magic last Tuesday, the Warriors were unable to weave any magic of their own against the New Orleans Hornets on Friday. Golden State came out hot, hanging 36 points on New Orleans in the first quarter and starting the second quarter with a nine-point lead.

The Warriors' hot shooting continued in the second quarter leading to a 14-point lead halfway through the second quarter. However, the final five minutes were a barren wasteland for Golden State and the Hornets pulled to within six by the end of the half. The Hornets tightened things up in the second half and took over in the latter part of the fourth quarter. A pair of missed free throws in the waning seconds by Golden State's Dale Davis all but clinched it for New Orleans with the Warriors falling 111-108.

Golden State played host to the surprising Pacific Division leading Phoenix Suns. Despite Phoenix's Pacific Division leading record, the cellar dwelling Warriors gave Phoenix about as much as they could handle, pushing this one to overtime.

The hot shooting Suns came out as expected, hitting a plethora of jumpers and leading 31-22 by the end of the first quarter. It was more of the same in the second quarter as Phoenix's tremendous trio Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amare Stoudemire led the Suns to a 59-45 first half lead while the Warriors once again struggled to convert outside jumpers.

The Suns went comparatively cold in the third quarter posting a paltry 22 points. Golden State managed to knock three points of Phoenix's sizable lead, but still entered the fourth quarter down by eleven. The Suns found themselves without a basket in sight for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, affording Golden State a chance to climb back in. Remarkably, the Warriors were up by 4 points with barely two minutes left. A bad pass by Speedy Claxton allowed Phoenix to send the game to overtime.

The Warriors controlled the first four minutes of overtime with Jason Richardson and Speedy Claxton hitting some key shots. Unfortunately, Golden State allowed eight unanswered Phoenix points which was more than enough for Phoenix to pull this one out, 106-102.

Dallas was in Oakland on Tuesday having posted solid wins over Sacramento and Seattle in the past week. Having dropped 22 of their last 24 meetings with Dallas was not the kind of statistic the Warriors wanted to be reminded of. Dirk Nowitzki and company were all to willing to remind Golden State, unfortunately.

The Mavericks took control early never relinquishing the lead in the first quarter and entered the second quarter with a five point advantage, 34-29. Continued solid shooting by Dallas and a Warriors scoring drought in the latter stages of the second quarter allowed the Mavericks to extend their lead significantly heading into the second half, 67-53.

The worm turned in the third quarter as the Warriors unleashed a furious offensive onslaught erasing the Mavericks significant lead with '3' three pointers from Jason Richardson, 7 points from Mike Dunleavy, and a total of 35 points from a formerly anemic Warriors offense. Suddenly, Dallas found themselves down by two by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The score remained relatively tight for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter with neither team assuming command. Dallas asserted its will and turned a tie game into a ten point lead. Golden State rallied to bring the Warriors within three points, but this late effort was not enough to steal a win with Dallas sealing things at 114-107.

Tonight Golden State hosts another Western Conference power in the Seattle Sonics. Seattle has posted wins against the Warriors in their two previous meetings this season and leads the Northwest division. While the Warriors have managed to put a scare into Phoenix and Dallas lately, they have likely posted more 'moral' victories than any other team in the West. It's unfortunate that moral victories can't get you into the playoffs; the Warriors would likely be the number one seed.