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JR's Return Can't Spell January Malaise
by Matt Forsman on Jan 28, 2005
With the return of Jason Richardson to the Warriors starting lineup last week came the end to Golden State's painful seven game losing streak and the unfamiliar taste of victory against the Denver Nuggets last Monday. Three days is all the time Golden State would be allowed to savor this all too rare victory.
Golden State headed South to confront the Kobe-less Lakers on Friday. The Warriors played a solid first half heading into the locker room down by three at 51-54. Things stayed pretty tight in the third quarter until the Warriors went cold with Derek Fisher missing a three pointer, followed by two more missed three points attempts by Troy Murphy and Jason Richardson, respectively. The Lakers took advantage stretching the lead to eight at 80-72.
Starting the fourth quarter down by six, the Warriors inconsistent shooting continued. Fortunately, the Lakers were not feeling terribly opportunistic in the early stages of the quarter only managing to extend the lead to eight. Jumaine Jones cued the onslaught by hitting a key three pointer extending the Laker lead to 96-85 with a little over five minutes left.
Despite continued shooting woes, the Warriors found themselves only down by four to L.A. in the waning seconds of the game. Forced to foul to preserve the handful of seconds left on the clock, Golden State finally succumbed, 101-107.
Barely having time to reflect on the glut of poor shot attempts they threw up, Golden State headed back to Oakland for a confrontation with Lebron James and the Cavaliers (aka the 'Lebronians'). The Cavs arrived with confidence as they sported one of the Eastern Conference's better records.
Cleveland came out sharp against the Warriors unloading 27 points and holding a five- point advantage at the end of the first. Unable to get into any kind of offensive rhythm, Golden State was down by thirteen five minutes into the second quarter. Troy Murphy and Jason Richardson put together a nice string of plays to rally the Warriors to within five with about three minutes left in the first half.
Lebron and company responded closing out the first half with a nine-point advantage, 56-47. The Cavs held onto a ten-point lead for most of the third before a Derek Fisher three pointer and some key free throws brought the Warriors within six by the start of the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, Golden State saved its worst for last. A nearly four-minute dry spell in the fourth quarter allowed Cleveland to extend their lead to fifteen with a little over five minutes to play. Unable to staunch the wound, the Warriors collapsed, losing by a final score of 104-87.
This week has started off swimmingly for Golden State. Thus far, no losses sustained. Granted, Golden State has yet to actually face an opponent. The Warriors will play at home against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and against Seattle at home on Friday.
Golden State's week ends on Saturday in L.A. against the slumping Clippers. While the Clippers have only won 3 of their last 7, the Warriors have lost 9 of 10. Which begs the question, at what point does a slump become unadulterated hemorrhaging?
by Matt Forsman on Jan 28, 2005
Derek Fisher and Jason Richardson, (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)