for this game

Strong second half helps Warriors down Sonics

Feb 27, 2008 - 7:23 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Although they overmatched the Golden State Warriors in the paint without center Andris Biedrins, the young Seattle SuperSonics couldn't hold on down the stretch on Tuesday.

Monta Ellis scored 30 points and Baron Davis added 20 and 10 assists as the Warriors claimed a 105-99 victory over the SuperSonics to take a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Without Biedrins, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Thursday, the Warriors were outrebounded, 52-42, but compensated by hitting over 50 percent (45-of-89) of their shots from the field.

"A win is a win, we need to win, and that's it," Ellis said. "We need to play better but we came out with the win.

"And whether we win by one or we win by 30, we won so we've got to keep winning, stay focused, do what we need to do and play Warriors basketball."

The Sonics have lost four of their last six games and are only 5-22 on the road this season, including a 2-16 mark against the West.

Seattle also committed 25 turnovers resulting in 32 points by Golden State.

"To win on the road against a good team, you've got to close quarters and you can't turn it over 25 times and give up 30-plus points on turnovers," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

Rookie Jeff Green scored 21 points and fellow first-year sensation Kevin Durant had 14 of his 21 points in the first half but scored only two in the fourth quarter for Seattle.

"I was being aggressive," Durant said. "I think in the second half I got my teammates more involved, playing defense and did other things. Once my shot's not falling or I'm not shooting the ball, just play basketball.

"I think I did an OK job of doing that, but I've got to keep playing harder."

After trailing, 70-67, Golden State went on a 17-6 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to claim an eight-point advantage which it would not relinquish.

Veteran Austin Croshere played 22 minutes off the bench, scoring scored all 14 of his points in the third for Golden State.

"It felt good to be out there," said Croshere, who was 6-of-6 from the field. "The last couple of years of my career, my role is to be ready not knowing whether you're going to get a DNP or going to play 22 minutes or start the second half.

"I think for a lot of younger players, that's a difficult role but I've been doing it for quite a while and it's something I feel comfortable doing."

The Warriors increased their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter after Al Harrington's 3-pointer with 8:37 to go. Moments later, Harrington made a driving slam dunk through the paint to increase the advantage to 91-78.

Golden State continued to make 3-pointers and held a sizeable 14-point advantage with 5:22 remaining.

The Sonics scored 32 points in the first quarter but combined to score only 42 in the second half.

"I think we come out and played hard and, if you've seen our last game (against the Lakers), there was a big difference between what we did then and (Tuesday) so we've got to keep building," Durant said. "We'd love to win but we've got to keep building. Fortunately we've got a game (Wednesday) so this one's out the door, and we've got to learn from this and get better."

Swingman Stephen Jackson returned to the Warriors' lineup and scored 17 points after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle.

The Sonics jumped out to an early lead and held it for the first half.

Golden State trailed, 41-40, when Seattle went on an 11-0 run, capped by Nick Collison's putback dunk with 4:38 left in the second quarter.

It's the third consecutive game the Warriors have fallen behind by double digits, but they fought back with a 9-0 surge before the half to trail, 57-53, entering the locker room.

"We just have to get off to a better start offensively," said Davis, who tied a career-high with seven steals. "Just be a better team defensively. We can't rely on steals but we have to do a better job just overall on man-to-man and team concepts."