Warriors snuff Hornets with bench, defense 102-89

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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.
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"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.

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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.

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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.

Durant questionable for Monday's game in Philadelphia

Durant questionable for Monday's game in Philadelphia

Kevin Durant's status for Monday's game in Philadelphia remains up in the air.

The Warriors forward, who missed his first game of the season on Saturday, is listed as questionable for the team's game against the 76ers.

Prior to the game against the Nets, head coach Steve Kerr told the media that Durant's left hand was "still a little swollen" and called the injury a "day-to-day" thing.

Without Durant, the Warriors still managed to cruise to a 112-95 win over Brooklyn.

Durant injured his left pinky in the opening minutes against the Clippers on Thursday. He remained in the game, but late in the first quarter, he retreated to the locker room with a member of the training staff.

He returned to the game after X-rays came back negative. He played 34 minutes and finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.

 

Three takeaways: Sharks stand up for Karlsson; avoiding the mumps

Three takeaways: Sharks stand up for Karlsson; avoiding the mumps

VANCOUVER – It was a successful first game coming out of the bye week for the Sharks, as they won going away against the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1. Here are our three takeaways from the evening in British Columbia…

1 – Slow start, strong finish

The league-wide trend of starting slow coming out of the NHL’s newly instituted bye week was on display in the first period, as the Sharks and Canucks played one of the uglier frames of NHL hockey you’ll ever see. San Jose was on its heels early, surrendering the first six shots of the game and looking particularly confused. They didn’t register a single hit in the period, either, which is hard to do.

The Sharks were lucky that Vancouver wasn’t much better, and that Martin Jones – whose performance we focused on in primary the game recap – was looking sharp and well rested.

The message after the scoreless first period, according to coach Pete DeBoer, was just to “try and get better.” That’s what happened.

“We knew it would be a little messy, and it was,” DeBoer said. “Jonesy thankfully was our best player, and gave us a chance to get our legs under us. I thought as the game wore on we got better and better. It wasn’t a pretty win, by any means.”

Chris Tierney said: “After the first 10 minutes [we] started to feel good and then kind of felt back to normal in the second there. It definitely took a little bit. Joner bailed us out in the beginning a couple times. I thought we started to get going in the second and third.”

2 – Standing up for Karlsson

Melker Karlsson was lucky to return in the third period after he took a heavy hit from Joseph Labate. Karlsson had to be helped to the dressing room after the blow, when his head violently snapped back as Labate ran him into the boards in front of the bench.

Micheal Haley pounced on Labate immediately after the incident, earning a two-minute minor that the team was probably happy to kill off. Labate, to his credit, answered the bell in the third period when he was challenged by and fought Brenden Dillon. The Sharks will face the Canucks three more times this season, including on Thursday, so a response to the hit was particularly necessary even if it was clean.

“That sends a good message to the team that everybody has each other’s back,” Mikkel Boedker said of Haley and Dillon’s efforts. “Those guys are real standup guys, and they’ve done it so many times. Every time they do it, it means something special to all of us.”

DeBoer said: “That’s a huge part of our team and our team identity. We’ve got a group that you’re not going to be able to push to of games, and I think we’ve shown that over the last two years here. You don’t even have to say anything, that’s just automatic.”

3 – Avoiding the mumps

Some eyebrows were raised in the press box midway through the game when the Canucks tweeted that defenseman Luca Sbisa would not return with the stomach flu. That’s one of the early warning signs of the mumps, meaning Sbisa could have exposed some Sharks to the virus, which is making its way through the Vancouver dressing room.

“What are you going to do? We’ve just got to cross our fingers and get outta here and hope that he didn’t rub up against anybody,” DeBoer said.

The Sharks coach said after the game that he thought “most of our guys” have had vaccinations, but “I believe there’s a couple that haven’t.”

After the virus invaded several NHL dressing rooms two seasons ago, the Sharks’ training staff will likely be on the lookout for symptoms when the team reconvenes on Monday. Hopefully, the outbreak will begin and end in Vancouver this time.

“Definitely, you want to make sure that you stay away from all that stuff,” Boedker said.