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No Rest for the Weary
by Matt Forsman on Mar 18, 2005
Neck deep in the longest road trip of the year, Golden State managed to post three solid road wins over Minnesota, Washington, and Philadelphia last week. For a team that has struggled to win all season (let alone win on the road), this was a fairly impressive feat. Three more road games loomed on the horizon before the Warriors would get a break and some quality time back in Oakland.
The Warriors ventured to Detroit to face off against the world champion Pistons. Golden State struggled in the first half showing some fatigue from the previous night's game against Philadelphia. Detroit failed to capitalize and would take a scant two-point lead into the locker room at halftime. Baron Davis in perhaps his finest quarter with the Warriors posted ten points in keeping Golden State close.
The third quarter was a shootout with Detroit's trio of Rasheed Wallance, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton matching buckets with Golden State's Troy Murphy and Baron Davis for a combined 58-point quarter. Detroit held a four point advantage heading into the final quarter. Golden State would rally to draw even halfway through the final quarter, but could never quite turn the tide with a few key missed free throws spelling their doom. Detroit 92, Golden State 88. The high point for Golden State was Baron Davis' stellar performance off the bench posting 21 points and four assists off the bench.
An already fatigued Golden State traveled to Indiana for their penultimate road game against the Pacers. Indiana hovers precipitously in a deadlock for the 7th and 8th playoff position in the Eastern Conference with Orlando. Every game counts for a team fighting for their playoff lives. Indiana certainly played like it against Golden State. The weary Warriors showed up flat and the Pacers were anything but, opening up a 22-point lead with less than five minutes left in the first half.
It was more of the same in the second half as Golden State's hole grew bigger and the Pacers continued to fire on all cylinders. The outcome of this one was virtually decided by the beginning of the fourth with the Warriors staring down a 23-point deficit. Punchless, Golden State was unable to muster a rally of any significance and fell in a blowout, 101-83.
Few things cleanse the palate of a painful blowout like taking on the worst team in the league. The Atlanta Hawks have scraped together a win-loss record that barely escapes the NBA record for most losses in a season. Golden State was in no mood to throw these guys a bone. What started out as a close game in the first quarter turned into a three-point clinic as the Warriors unloaded a barrage of long-range jumpers that effectively buried the Hawks. All told, Golden State unloaded a near record 18 treys and found themselves in command with a ridiculous 27-point lead heading into the final quarter. It's only appropriate that Baron Davis would seal the victory with a three pointer, 107-92.
At long last, the road weary Warriors returned home for a game against the streaking Rockets. Houston is in the midst of a late season push to shore up playoff position and were in the midst of a successful road trip when they arrived in Oakland. It was the Warriors who looked like the road team in the first quarter. Failing to score a point for the last four minutes of the game Houston to start the second quarter up 25-12. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady helped Houston keep the lead hovering around ten points for most of the second quarter. A last second three pointer by Golden State's Mickael Pietrus put the Warriors down seven heading into the locker room.
Houston continued to light things up in the third quarter with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady leading the charge. Troy Murphy had a stellar quarter hitting a couple of three pointers and leading all Warriors scorers. Alas, Murphy's performance was not enough to stem the tide as the Rockets entered the final quarter with a commanding fourteen-point lead. A valiant rally led by Mickael Pietrus and Zarko Cabarkapa brought the Warriors to within one with just under a minute left in the game. The Warriors were unable to complete the comeback, eventually falling to Houston 97-94.
Golden State finishes off their homestand on Thursday against the Sacramento Kings before hitting the road for a game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday and finishing the week in Sacramento for a rematch against the Kings. With under six weeks left in the season and Golden State recently posting their 20th win, there is little hope for the Warriors to make a playoff run, but there is plenty of opportunity for this team to finish on a high note and act as a spoiler.
by Matt Forsman on Mar 18, 2005