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News » Warriors can't pull upset with six players


Warriors can't pull upset with six players


Warriors can't pull upset with six players Warriors forward Anthony Randolph was supposed to be on Day 5 of his recovery from a sprained left ankle, an injury supposedly bad enough that the Warriors announced he would miss a week or two.

Instead, Randolph came off the bench Saturday and played what coach Don Nelson called "his best game as a pro." It couldn't prevent the Warriors from losing to the Orlando Magic 126-118, but his career-high 28 points and five assists went with 13 rebounds and got the Randolph bandwagon rolling again.

"I think it was (my best game as a Warrior)," Randolph said. "It wasn't just about the points. I rebounded well and passed the ball and found my teammates."

The Magic survived with clutch 3-pointers down the stretch one by guard Vince Carter, who led Orlando with 27 points and seven assists, and two by Mikael Pietrus, the former Warrior who finished with 22 points.

The Warriors had a chance to win down the stretch despite playing just six players for most of the way. With guard Anthony Morrow attending a funeral in North Carolina, the Warriors were down to nine available players. But from the second quarter on, Nelson played only six: guards Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and C.J. Watson, forwards Corey Maggette and Vladimir Radmanovic, and Randolph.

Randolph didn't check in until a minute into the second quarter, and he never came back out. Nelson said Randolph followed the game plan precisely, and as a result, Randolph took and made several open midrange jumpers to make Magic center Dwight Howard pay for protecting the basket.

Randolph, whom Nelson planned to use only against Magic backup center Marcin Gortat, helped hold Howard to 17 points, five after the first quarter, on 6-of-11 shooting. He was a nuisance for Howard, drawing two charges and contesting just about every shot attempt.

"I thought, 'Well, give him a chance, see what he does against the big guy,'" Nelson said. "He was good. He covered. He drew some fouls. For whatever reason, he understood our game plan better than our veterans. ... I didn't know he had that kind of stamina. Usually, after four minutes, he really tires."

The Warriors trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half. They got their first lead of the game, 96-95, when Ellis found Radmanovic for an open 3-pointer. On the ensuing defensive possession, Radmanovic stole the ball from Magic guard Jason Williams and got a breakaway dunk.

After another stop, Ellis who had 33 points, seven assists and seven turnovers in 48 minutes nailed a fade-away from the baseline over Pietrus. Golden State took a 100-97 lead into the fourth quarter.

Randolph connected on a lob to Ellis, putting the Warriors ahead 108-105 with just under nine minutes left. Moments later, Randolph made a 19-footer, then pressured Howard into missing a putback, which led to a Maggette layup. The Warriors had a 114-109 lead with 6:04 left.

They fell apart thereafter. Carter and Pietrus made back-to-back 3-pointers to give Orlando the lead again, 117-114 with 3:38 left in the game. The Warriors answered with three turnovers and a missed layup.

By the time Pietrus nailed the Magic's 12th 3-pointer a pull-up from the left corner the Warriors were down 122-114 with 1:51 left. That was game.

"Those close games down the stretch," Curry said, "you've got to really buckle down and focus on what you're doing."


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

 

 
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