Richardson Returns as Warriors Rout Wolves
Golden State 109, Minnesota 77
OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 4 (Ticker) -- The Golden State Warriors had been struggling of late. But with Jason Richardson back in the lineup, they came up with their best effort of the season.
Richardson returned from a four-game absence and collected 23 points and seven rebounds in just three quarters as the Warriors posted their biggest win of the season, a 109-77 drubbing of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"I hope I don't feel it tomorrow," Richardson said. "I'm the type of person, once I'm on the floor, you're on the floor and should be 100 percent and play like you're 100 percent."
Baron Davis tweaked his left ankle in the pregame shootaround and was replaced in the starting lineup at the last minute by Mike Dunleavy Jr. However, the original lineup had Dunleavy on the bench for the first time this season. Dunleavy had started all 44 games up to this point.
"I came down on one of our coaches' feet under the basket after I was laying the ball up," Davis said. "I was determining whether I was going to play or not and I didn't have a good assessment. I went in (to the locker room) and got a little bit more padding put on my ankle, extra padding and extra tape to make sure that I could absorb a little bit more shock because I wasn't able to plant. If you saw me out there I was limping gingerly."
"It wasn't explained to me," Dunleavy said. "(The coach) is the one who makes the decisions so you need to talk to him more about it. It is what it is. I'll play wherever."
Holding a 29-24 lead after the first quarter, the Warriors turned it on in the second period as they outscored the struggling Timberwolves, 27-13 in the session. Troy Murphy, who scored nine of his 20 points in the quarter, chipped in seven in Golden State's 9-0 run to close out the half.
"We've been playing hard the last couple of games but we just haven't been rewarded with a win," Murphy said. "Tonight, we played hard again and got a nice win. We were able to get everybody some playing time and it feels really good."
"That's the way we have to play every night," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said. "We have to battle every night. When you get comfortable, that's when you get beat in the league. You really have to stay focused and you really have to play as if there's a real sense of urgency."
The lead grew to 85-59 by the end of the third quarter, prompting Montgomery to play his reserves in the final period. However, that did not prevent Golden State from opening a 101-65 advantage with 5:11 remaining.
"We just couldn't regroup (after the first quarter) and they just got on a roll," Minnesota Coach Dwane Casey said. "The more we tried, the more they got on a roll and got going so there's no answer. If you come out with a focus and effort for 48 minutes in this league every night, you're in trouble and Golden State took advantage of it."
"We've been down and had a lot of close games the past two weeks," Richardson said. "We needed a real big win and this is a big win for us. A lot of guys contributed to the win and it's a feel good win."
Ricky Davis scored 20 points for Minnesota, which never got closer than 19 in the second half en route to its seventh loss in nine games.
"It's tough, they got too many easy looks, a lot of layups, a lot of stuff in the paint," Davis said. "I think we started out fine. We've just got to execute our stuff, get what we want on the offensive end so teams don't be running out on us on the other end."
"I wouldn't say it was a lack of focus," said Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett, who collected 15 points and 11 rebounds. "I think that we just got derailed. They got a lot of easy buckets and we got no easy buckets whatsoever. It was just a hard night, hard all the way around."