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News » Nelson throws in towel vs. Heat

Nelson throws in towel vs. Heat

Nelson throws in towel vs. Heat
MIAMI Point guard C.J. Watson nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 29.8 seconds left, pulling the Warriors to within six points. The Warriors' next obvious move was to foul immediately. Even Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade slowed up, anticipating the foul.

However, Warriors coach Don Nelson just let the seconds tick away, even though Miami had shot 56 percent from the line. He'd seen what he wanted to see, considering his most-experienced player in uniform Tuesday was fifth-year center Andris Biedrins. His youngsters showed some fight in a 96-88 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena, sealing the five-game road trip with four losses.

"No, not really," Nelson said when asked if he thought about fouling to extend the game. "I was very happy with the way that we played."

Moral victories and development are all the Warriors (8-22) have to cling to at this point because the tangibles don't look so good. They have lost seven of their last eight games and are 3-16 since winning five of their first 11. Their next two games are against two of the best teams in the league (the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers). And they are as depleted as ever.

The Warriors had to play Miami (15-12) without the "Heat Killer." Guard Jamal Crawford who is averaging 34.5 points in two games against Miami this season and scored 52 against the Heat in January 2007 missed Tuesday's game with a strained left groin.

Crawford said he sustained the injury while stretching during warmups for the Orlando game Monday. But he played anyway, which he acknowledged he probably shouldn't have.

"I didn't want people to think, 'Oh, he had 50 and now he's not playing,' " Crawford said, explaining his decision to play Monday. "I care about what my teammates think."

With Crawford sitting next to swingman Stephen Jackson (sprained left hand) in street clothes on the bench, and swingman Corey Maggette still in Los Angeles recovering from hamstring issues, the Warriors' had all their young talent on display. Golden State's starting five consisted of Biedrins, two NBA Development League products (Watson and swingman Kelenna Azubuike), and two second-year players who hardly played as rookies (guard Marco Belinelli and forward Brandan Wright).

With no proven, consistent scorer to lean on, the Warriors offense struggled for most of the game, finishing at 37.1 percent from the field. For the third time this season, the Warriors scored below 45 in a half, turning their 11-point, early-second-quarter lead into a 47-41 halftime deficit.

Still, the Warriors managed to claw back into the game. They forced 21 turnovers, corralled 16 offensive rebounds and managed just enough scoring to stay in striking distance.

Miami led by 13 less than a minute into the fourth quarter. But when Watson and Azubuike nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, the Heat's lead was down to 74-68 with less than eight minutes left. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was forced to call a timeout and get Wade back in the game.

"We're just keeping our focus and everyone has to keep their confidence," Watson said after scoring a team-high 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting. "We know we have a good game and we can surprise some people."

The lead was down to 84-80 after guard Anthony Morrow nailed a jumper just inside the 3-point line with 3:25 left.

But eventually, Wade's experience and talent would overwhelm the Warriors' youth. He scored or assisted on 16 of the Heat's last 18 points, putting up 14 of his game-high 32 in the fourth quarter.

Of course, Nelson knew it was coming.

"I think they just decided they could win whenever they got Wade back in the game," Nelson said. "And that's actually what happened. He took over. He was well rested and they were ready. Occasionally you can trip somebody like that. He has a bad game or you get hot at the wrong time, and then you can win a game like that. But I don't think there was a lot of sweat on their brow even though we were close."

Good thing, then, he had already seen what he wanted to see.

Notes: Miami sharpshooter Daequan Cook knocked down five 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting. The Warriors' sharpshooters? Belinelli and Morrow were a combined 6-for-22 from the field, 1-for-5 from 3-point range. ... There are still tickets available for Friday's home game against the defending NBA champion Celtics. For information, go to . ... Wright scored 10 of his 12 points in the third quarter, including seven straight at one point. But when he checked out of the game with 4:18 left in the quarter, he never came back in.

Contact Marcus Thompson II at 96, Warriors 88NEXT GAME: Friday, vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 24, 2008


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