Backcourt Questions Linger as Pistons, Warriors Meet
Posted Nov 11 2006 11:43AM
Both the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors could be short-handed because of backcourt injuries Saturday when the teams meet at Oracle Arena.
The Pistons' Richard Hamilton and the Warriors' Jason Richardson - the starting shooting guards for both teams - are questionable after each missed their teams' previous game.
Hamilton missed Detroit's 97-83 win Friday over the Los Angeles Lakers due to a hyperextended right elbow, while Richardson sat out Golden State's 121-116 win Thursday over New Orleans due to fluid buildup and stiffness in his surgically repaired left knee.
Both players were the respective focal points of their team's offense in the two games last season, with each averaging 25.0 points. Hamilton scored 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting to lead Detroit to a 97-85 home win Dec. 23 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, and Richardson scored 36 in Golden State's 106-103 home defeat Dec. 9.
Detroit (3-3) is in position to salvage a split of its four-game road trip. With the Pistons coming off double-digit losses at Utah and Sacramento, Tayshaun Prince matched a career high with 31 points Friday, and Chauncey Billups added 21 and nine assists.
Rasheed Wallace had 15 points and seven assists, while Flip Murray - starting in Hamilton's place - added 10 points for his third straight game in double figures.
``We just did a great job defensively of attacking and making them hit the outside shot,'' said Prince, who scored a combined 14 points losses to the Jazz and Kings. ``We haven't been getting out running and that's been our problem. It's been making our offense stagnant.''
With Richardson sidelined, Baron Davis shouldered the offensive load Thursday for the Warriors (3-3) with a season-high 36 points. He also had nine assists without a turnover, and has averaged 28.0 points his last three games after averaging only 12.3 points in his first three.
``This was carrying a team on his back, basically,'' said Warriors coach Don Nelson. ``I'm awfully proud of him He carried the team.''
Monta Ellis, playing in place of Richardson, had 21 points and five assists. Troy Murphy added 20 points and seven rebounds.
``We grew up a little bit in this game,'' said Davis, who was 11-for-17 from the field and 13-for-17 from the foul line. ``It's only a matter of time before we start to jell.''
Richardson's absence may enable Dajuan Wagner to make his first NBA appearance since Dec. 18, 2004. Wagner, the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft, was activated Thursday after he missed all of last season with a foot injury.
Detroit's backup center Dale Davis had three rebounds in six minutes in his season debut Friday. He missed the first five games due to a hamstring injury.
The Warriors have lost five straight to the Pistons since an 87-85 home overtime win Nov. 12, 2003. Golden State has lost 16 of the last 20 between the teams.
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