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News » Randolph's surprise return not quite enough


Randolph's surprise return not quite enough


Randolph's surprise return not quite enough Anthony Randolph wasn't even supposed to play Saturday, let alone play the starring role in a near upset.

Just four days after the team announced that Randolph would miss at least a week with a sprained left ankle, he returned to the court and helped the Warriors take Orlando to the brink in a 126-118 loss.

Mostly because of Randolph's career night, the Warriors led by as many as six in the fourth quarter and were up 114-109 with 6:04 remaining. They had three turnovers in the final six minutes and made bad decisions, like forcing up four contested jumpers on one possession, to open the door for Orlando.

Former Warrior Mickael Pietrus made two three-pointers sandwiched around five points from Vince Carter as Orlando went up 122-114 with 1:51 remaining and spoiled Randolph's return in front of 19,054 fans at Oracle Arena.

"In close games down the stretch, you've really got to buckle down and focus on what you're doing," said Stephen Curry, who had back-to-back turnovers in the final 3 1/2 minutes. "You've got to be willing to make plays, and I didn't come through. We played well for about 45 minutes, but we've got to figure out how to finish out games."

Orlando, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, handed the Warriors their fifth loss in their last six. The Warriors now start a five-game road trip in Oklahoma City on Monday with the possibility of losing four consecutive games for the first time this season.

"I don't know if we can play much better with what we have," coach Don Nelson said. "I thought we got their attention and made them play. They probably thought they were going to blow us out, but we gave them quite a game."

At least the Warriors got a glimpse of a vastly improved Randolph before the arduous trip. He went for career-highs in points 28 and assists 5, grabbed 13 rebounds and got Dwight Howard in foul trouble.

The second-year forward kept the Warriors in the game during a defenseless first half and changed the game in the third quarter. Randolph drew Howard's fifth foul at the 5:53 mark of the third quarter and Orlando leading 85-80. With Howard sitting on the bench, the Warriors took a 100-97 lead through three quarters.

"This is kind of what I envisioned when I drafted him," said Nelson, who used Randolph to instigate the offense. "Other than the one early jump shot that he took, he played a perfect game.

"He usually tires after four minutes and he was off an ankle injury, so I don't know. You figure it out."

Randolph played 35 minutes on a night in which he said he was just going to test his ankle. Instead, he became the much-needed sidekick for Monta Ellis on a night that was especially important because Anthony Morrow was attending a family member's funeral in North Carolina.

Ellis had 33 points on another display of awe-inspiring dances into the lane. On one drive, he spun around Howard and finished with his left hand after an up-and-under move around J.J. Redick.

The Warriors gave up a season-high 72 in the first half but were in the game because of Randolph and a bushel of free throws. After Anthony Johnson hit a three to put Orlando ahead 64-49 with 4:20 remaining, Randolph took over.

He scored 10 points and had three rebounds in the final four minutes of the half. His free throws with 21.4 seconds left cut the deficit to 69-63.

The free throws were two of the Warriors' 25 attempts in the second quarter, the second most since the franchise moved to the West Coast. They made 19 of them, four from Ellis, seven from Corey Maggette and eight from Randolph.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 6, 2009

 

 
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