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Stabroek News

Warriors get better of Jazz
published: Sunday | May 13, 2007

Golden State Warriors' Baron Davis (right) goes to the hoop past Utah Jazz's Mehmet Okur in Game Three of the NBA Western Conference semi-finals on Friday night. Golden State won 125-105. - Reuters

OAKLAND (Reuters):

GOLDEN STATE continued their solid play-off form at the Oakland Coliseum with a 125-105 victory over the Utah Jazz in their second round series on Friday night, Baron Davis leading the Warriors with 32 points and nine assists.

James Richardson added 25 points for the home team, who had 15 three-pointers in all, including an NBA playoff record-tying 11 in the first half, to lead Golden State to their first victory in the best-of-seven series after two road losses in Utah.

The eighth-seeded Warriors stunned the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the opening round and have now won all four home games this post-season, feeding off the energy of crowds of morethan 20,000 wearing their yellow "We Believe" T-shirts.

Good to play at home

"It's always good to play at home," Richardson said. "The crowd brings a lot of energy.

"We always play well at home."

The Warriors came out running and scored a franchise play-off record 40 points in the second quarter to take a 70-49 lead into the locker room at halftime and were never threatened after the interval.

"We did a good job keeping it together after a tough loss," Golden State coach Don Nelson said, referring to Wednesday's overtime defeat in Utah.

"I'm real pleased with everything we did, the adjustments we made were good."

Golden State held a 30-point lead at one point in the second half, saw that cut in half in the fourth quarter, but their 53 per cent shooting from the field kept them well in command.

Crowd electrified

Davis electrified the crowd with a vicious one-handed dunk over shot-blocking specialist Andrei Kirilenko with 2:48 left that put an exclamation point on the victory.

"I knew I was going to get over him right from the start," Davis, who has battled several injuries in the play-offs, said.

"The guys just said 'wow' to me after.

"Our guys feed off the crowd. Utah is a great team and come Game Four, we have to be better than we were tonight in order to win."

The Warriors also forced Utah into making 23 turnovers, something that Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was unhappy with.

"We just completely lost our concentration," Sloan said. "They just came at us like a wild dog you might say."

Al Harrington added 15 points for the Warriors, while Andris Biedrins contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, and Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur both scored 13.

Game Four of Western Conference semi-final is in Oakland today, before the series returns to Utah for Game Five on Tuesday.

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