Warriors snuff Hornets with bench, defense 102-89

388759.jpg

Warriors snuff Hornets with bench, defense 102-89

Feb. 15, 2011WARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEOBOX SCORE

OAKLAND (AP) -- With Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry mired in foul trouble early in the second quarter, coach Keith Smart hoped his bench could keep the Warriors in the game.

They did much more than that, helping erase a 15-point deficit and sent the Warriors on their way to another win.

Ellis scored 21 points and Golden State held All-Star Chris Paul scoreless for the final 39 minutes of a 102-89 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

Dorell Wright and David Lee added 16 points apiece, and Curry had 14 and eight assists for the Warriors, who have won six of eight games. While the bulk of the points came from the starters it was the defense and energy from the bench players that turned the game around for Golden State.
RELATED: NBA scoreboard standings statistics

"The bench won the game for us tonight, without a question," Smart said. "Those guys came in when we needed something. They gave us an incredible boost."

The Warriors turned a 15-point first-quarter deficit into a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Golden State began the turnaround with little-used backup guards Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin in the game in the second quarter with Ellis and Curry sitting in foul trouble.

Ekpe Udoh provided strong interior defense and Vladimir Radmanovich helped out inside as the Warriors weathered the foul trouble.

"Those guys really stepped up and got us through that tough stretch and we were able to take control of the game," Curry said.

The Warriors head into their final game before the All-Star break Wednesday night in Utah playing their best basketball of the season, with five of the wins in this current stretch coming against teams with winning records.

Golden State has done it on the defensive end for a change, holding the opposition to under 100 points in five of their past six wins.

REVIEW: Warriors results Warriors can't stop Paul, Hornets (12601

The Hornets have been going the opposite direction, losing eight of 10 games as they struggle without injured center Emeka Okafor.

"I don't believe in excuses and I don't believe in rescues," coach Monty Williams said. "If guys want to keep their job, they're going to have to learn how to play in tough times like this."

Radmanovich made two 3-pointers to start the comeback and then Ellis came back in and capped a 15-3 run with a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors their first lead at 47-46. Golden State increased the advantage to 58-53 at the half and then started to pull away in the third quarter.

Curry hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 19-6 run that gave Golden State a 79-67 on a 3-pointer from Wright. Curry added another 3-pointer late in the quarter to make it 83-71 heading into the fourth.

COHN: Where does Monta rank among NBA's top point guards

A three-point play by Lee and breakaway dunk by Reggie Williams helped increase the lead to 91-72 early in the fourth and the Warriors cruised from there.

"It's all been about effort," Lee said. "I thought we controlled the paint, didn't give them that many easy buckets tonight and our defense in the second half took off."

The turnaround was possible as much for Golden State's usual prowess on long-range shots as it was the defense against Paul, who missed his final eight shots. Paul finished with 11 points and 10 assists.

"They were all easy shots, shots that I should have made," Paul said. "It was nothing they did."

Former Warrior Marco Belinelli and David West each scored 15 points to lead the Hornets.

This game was emblematic of the problems the Hornets have had since leaving here Jan. 26 with a 10-game winning streak. New Orleans has won just twice in 10 games since then with Williams saying the downfall started late in that final win in the streak.

"We just haven't had enough consistent play," West said. "We haven't been able to play at a high enough level to beat even teams that aren't in the playoff race. We just haven't been able to play at a high enough level to win those games."

Williams hoped a return to Oracle Arena would get his team back to playing the way it did during that January run. It looked as though his wish would come true at the start of the game as the Hornets made 11 of their first 13 shots from the field as they broke out to a 32-17 late in the first quarter.

Paul was in the middle of it all by hitting his first four shots and handing out five assists, including the pass that set up a 3-pointer by Belinelli that capped the 9-0 run to give New Orleans a 15-point lead.

NOTES: Curry made one free throw, extending his consecutive make streak to 40. ... The Hornets hope to have Okafor back from a strained muscle in his side after the All-Star break.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.

 

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.