Golden State Outruns, Outguns Sacramento, 117-105Golden State Warriors' Coach Don Nelson describes Baron Davis as "our most dominant player right now" and Davis certainly lived up to that billing on Thursday with 36 points, 18 assists and eight rebounds in a 117-105 Golden State win over the Sacramento Kings. Davis established a new career-high and tied Jason Kidd for an NBA season-high with his assists total. Mickael Pietrus also had a strong game, scoring 26 points on 12-16 shooting. The Warriors, winners of four straight games, shot .577 from the field and never trailed. They are undefeated this season when they score at least 100 points and have yet to win a game when they are held below 100. Kevin Martin scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Kings, while Ron Artest had 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Artest only shot 7-22 from the field but he was just one of many misfiring Kings on a night when Sacramento shot just .432 from the field.
The Warriors jumped out to a 15-4 advantage and had a 40-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. Davis scored eight points on 3-4 shooting and choreographed Golden State's fast paced attack with 11 assists, which enabled the Warriors to shoot 17-23 from the field. TNT's Steve Kerr wondered if Scott Skiles' single game record of 30 assists might be in jeopardy but, of course, such a pace is very difficult to maintain for a whole game--particularly in a category like assists, which is dependent on the actions of another player.
Davis added eight more points and one assist in the second quarter. He showed off an array of fancy spin moves and was able to get to the front of the rim at will. Kerr said that there is no reason for a player of his ability to have as low a career field goal percentage as Davis does; Davis must stay healthy and in shape throughout the season and continue to go to the hoop. The Warriors had a 65-53 halftime lead; the 40 first quarter points and 65 first half points are both season-highs for Golden State. The Warriors' transition game was fuelled by 13 Sacramento turnovers. Pietrus topped all scorers with 17 points, while Martin had 15 for the Kings.
Nothing changed in the second half. Golden State continued to thrive in the open court. Even in the half court, the Warriors easily attacked the Kings' defense. "Speed kills," Kerr said simply after a Pietrus drive gave the Warriors an 86-75 lead late in the third quarter. The Warriors led 92-80 at the end of the period.
The first viable threat by the Kings happened with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter. Davis collected his fifth foul on a Ron Artest drive. Artest made both free throws to bring Sacramento within 97-90 and Nelson faced a decision: remove Davis from the game so he doesn't get his sixth foul or ride things out. Nelson left him in the game and that proved to be a wise choice. Davis scored seven of Golden State's next 15 points and assisted on a Jason Richardson three pointer and the Warriors had a decisive 112-95 edge with 3:02 remaining. Nelson shrewdly shifted the Warriors into a zone defense, protecting Davis from getting another foul and taking advantage of Sacramento's poor outside shooting.
posted by David Friedman @ 2:51 AM