Richardson Lifts Warriors Past Magic
Golden State 98, Orlando 94
OAKLAND, Calif., March 1 (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson shook off the pain and snapped the Golden State Warriors out of their doldrums.
Richardson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors snapped a a four-game losing streak with a 98-94 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Richardson was relatively quiet through the first three periods before taking over late to lift the Warriors to their first win since the All-Star break.
"I was going in there getting (my shot) blocked because I didn't have the jumping ability with one ankle, so I had to smarten up on how to get my shots to fall," said Richardson, who made 4-of-5 shots in the fourth quarter.
Tony Battie's jumper gave Orlando an 84-81 lead with 3:15 left and Mickael Pietrus answered with a 3-pointer on the other end. Richardson hit a jumper to give Golden State the lead for good and added a runner to make it 88-84 with 1:15 remaining.
Keyon Dooling halved the deficit with a pair of free throws and Grant Hill blocked Richardson's jumper on the ensuing possession. But Andris Biedrins got the loose ball and gave it back to Richardson, who drained a fadeaway jumper from the left baseline as the shot clock expired to push the advantage to 90-86 with 42 seconds to play.
"The difference between tonight and 15 other games was we made big plays," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "You've got to give Jason Richardson credit. He made two big baskets down the stretch. He wanted to make them."
"It's a desperation win for us," Richardson said. "We still have a chance at making the playoffs. We've got to continue to play hard."
Richardson, Pietrus and Fisher combined to hit 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. On Monday, the Warriors missed 10 free throws in the final period, including five in the last 39 seconds of regulation.
"We still missed some free throws, but not at the end," Montgomery said. "It helps to make baskets in the fourth quarter. In this league, you got to make plays in the end."
"It was a tough loss," said Orlando guard DeShawn Stevenson, who scored 18 points. "We came out and tried to play hard and gave it up in the fourth quarter. They did a good job of stopping our last couple of plays. It was back and forth, but they ... played all the way through."
Dwight Howard scored all 17 of his points in the first three quarters as the Magic built a 70-64 lead. Howard also had 12 rebounds and reserve forward Darko Milicic had season highs of 12 points and nine rebounds for the Magic, who have lost 15 of their last 17 games.
"I wish I had the answer but I don't," said Hill, who scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. "We've got to continue to try to play hard and work through it and try to figure out what we can do to improve that." The Warriors (25-32) moved into a tie for 11th place in the Western Conference with Minnesota, 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers. They host the Lakers on Friday.
"We put ourselves in a bit of hole the last couple of weeks so all these games are a must for us," said Warriors forward Troy Murphy, who collected 14 points and 20 rebounds. "We're still trying to sneak in there. There's still a third of the season left, so we'll see what happens."