Golden State 99, Seattle 98

SEATTLE, March 17 (AP) -- Baron Davis, playing part-time while recovering from a knee injury, is making his presence felt in limited minutes.

Davis hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line at the top of the key with 2.3 seconds left to give the Golden State Warriors a 99-98 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on Saturday night.

"What I wanted to do was take a rhythm shot and just follow through,'' said Davis, who missed 14 games. "If it goes in, it goes in. I don't mind being the hero or the goat. My teammates have confidence in me.''

So does his coach.

"He is only able to play about half of a game, about 24 minutes, so I have to bide his time and make sure he's in there in the fourth quarter,'' coach Don Nelson said. "We ran a good play and Baron made a terrific shot.''

Golden State moved one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth playoff spot in the West.

Golden State has won all six games with Davis on the floor since he returned March 5. The lone loss came to Portland last Sunday when Davis did not play because of stiffness in his right knee.

"I just have to have more confidence in my explosiveness and the things I can do out there,'' said Davis, who grimaced after he got "kneed'' in the third quarter but after the game said he was fine.

Jason Richardson had 23 points for Golden State, Al Harrington had 20 and Davis added 19. Andris Biedrins tied his season-high with 18 rebounds - 13 in the first quarter.

"We didn't give up tonight,'' Biedrins said. "We really deserved this game.''

Seattle, losers of five straight, fell 4+ games behind Golden State. Seattle is 8-15 in games decided by five points or less.

"We're snake-bit, I guess,'' Seattle coach Bob Hill said.

Ray Allen had 25 points on 7-for-21 shooting for Seattle, and Rashard Lewis had 23. Nick Collison had 18 rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots.

Davis made one of two free throws to tie the game at 97 before Richardson accidentally fouled Lewis with 7.2 seconds left. Lewis split his pair of free throws to give Seattle a 98-97 advantage.

After a timeout, Davis dribbled at the top of the key with heavy pressure from Damien Wilkins. He shook off Wilkins with a dribble just enough to free himself for a good look at the basket - and calmly drained it. A stunned crowd then had to wait through another timeout, only to watch Wilkins miss a 3 from the right corner at the buzzer.

"Damien's shot in that situation wasn't the first, second or third option,'' Hill said. "But they did a good job of covering Rashard on the switch coming off the screen

Seattle missed 10 of its first 11 shots and trailed 25-9 in the first quarter. Golden State led 59-45 at halftime.

Collison's 3-point play two minutes into the third got Seattle within single digits at 61-52 for the first time since late in the first quarter.

Allen's 3-point play - a cross-over dribble against Harrington on the left side - gave Seattle its first lead at 69-67 with 4+ minutes to go. The All-Star guard then hit a 3 to put Seattle ahead 75-71 with 2:30 remaining in the third to complete a 34-15 run.

Davis and Richardson had back-to-back 3s in the closing minute to send Golden State into the fourth with a 77-75 lead.

Golden State took an 85-80 lead after Richardson's 360-degree spin move and shot in the lane for a 3-point play with 9:20 left.

Notes: Wilkins caught Ellis with an elbow for an offensive foul with 2:54 to go before a timeout. Ellis, who had a career-high eight steals, stayed down for about 30 seconds, but returned after the timeout. ... Seattle G Luke Ridnour returned after missing five straight games with an aggravated disc in his neck. ... Harrington, who sprained his ankle in Friday's 106-86 home win over Minnesota, started and played 37 minutes.


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