If you hadnt seen the Western Conference standings lately and watched this game in Oakland, you may have had no inkling that it wasnt of major consequence in the postseason race. Based on the intensity on the court and in the stands from a Warriors fan base that is incredibly supportive despite many recent out-of-contention clubs, it felt more like a critical matchup.
With both teams shorthanded and relying on nine or fewer healthy players, Golden State (19-48) used a second-half offensive barrage to come all the way back from a 21-point deficit. It was the largest blown lead of the 2009-10 season for New Orleans (33-36). The Warriors were scorching-hot from the perimeter in the latter half, piling up 75 points.
Golden State received a pair of tremendous performances from players who spent time in the D-League earlier in the season. The Warriors leading scorer, Anthony Tolliver (30 points), was actually on the Hornets summer-league roster in 2009, in the starting five along with the likes of Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton and Julian Wright. Fellow D-League call-up Reggie Williams added 22 points for the Warriors.
The Hornets were paced by David Wests monster 36-point, 15-rebound performance. New Orleans led 69-56 at halftime, but was outscored by 23 points in the second half. The Hornets fell to eight full games behind eighth-place Portland (41-28) in the standings, inching closer to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Any combination of six Blazers victories and Hornets defeats would officially rule NOLA out of the hunt.
New Orleans dropped to 1-2 on its current five-game road trip, which gets no easier from here. The Hornets were expected to arrive in Denver around 4 a.m. local time after the flight from California. New Orleans will visit Denver at 8:30 p.m. (Central time) Thursday in a nationally-televised TNT game.