Davis helps Warriors keep pace in playoff huntApr 9, 2008 - 7:13 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- With only four games remaining, the playoffs have already begun for the Golden State Warriors, who need every win to ensure a postseason berth.
Baron Davis scored 16 of his 31 points in the first quarter to lead six players in double figures as the Warriors claimed a 140-132 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
"Tonight, we did an excellent job of moving the basketball in getting guys open shots," Davis said. "Our defense can improve, and it will improve as each game comes about but, for the most part, we did what we needed to do and that's win, survive and it's on to the next game, which is the most important game for us of the season."
Stephen Jackson scored 18 points while Andris Biedrins contributed 17 and 17 rebounds for the Warriors (47-31), who kept pace with the Denver Nuggets (47-31) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"Well, hard to be disappointed when you win and you score 140 points, but we're going to have to start guarding people," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "This is (win) No. 47. (We're) probably going to need 50 to make the playoffs or 51, and I told the team we have to win them all, probably."
While both teams are currently tied for eighth place, the Nuggets own tiebreakers with a better head-to-head record and a better mark against Western Conference opponents. Golden State hosts Denver in a critical game that will be televised nationally on Thursday night.
"It's super important," Warriors forward Al Harrington said of Thursday's meeting with the Nuggets. "Our goal is to try to win five games in a row and, if we do that, we're definitely in. There's nothing anybody could do about that. Each game is important, but we've got to take them one game at a time and we've got Thursday circled on the calendar."
The Warriors have four games remaining with their only road contest coming against the Phoenix Suns on April 14.
Golden State led the entire game against Sacramento and stormed out of the gate thanks to some hot shooting from Davis.
"We knew we had to win," Jackson said. "That's why I think Baron and Al set the tone defensively, getting the two early steals and really starting the game out aggressively on defense, and that's what we need to do. Guys are starting to feel that sense of urgency, we just need to feel it as a whole."
Davis made 6-of-7 shots in the first quarter, scoring 16 points in the frame, including a thunderous slam dunk late in the period to give Golden State a 39-32 lead.
Leading by five points, Golden State used a 15-8 run to take a 12-point lead in the second quarter when Davis made a pretty no-look pass to Monta Ellis for the reverse layup.
Another reverse layup from Ellis late in the second gave Golden State its most points scored in the first half this season as it carried a 77-66 lead into the locker room.
With the lead stretched to 110-103, the Warriors used a 7-0 spurt to take a 12-point lead on a 3-pointer by Mickael Pietrus with 9:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was the first game back for Pietrus, who missed the last nine games with an injured right hamstring.
Pietrus later brought the crowd to its feet, blocking a layup attempt by Kevin Martin and adding a putback slam with 6:47 to play to give the Warriors a 13-point advantage before Davis nailed a step-back 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining to seal the win.
Despite the loss, Kings coach Reggie Theus was happy with his team's performance.
"You lose a game by eight in a situation where it's a must win for them in their building with a depleted team," he said. "I'm very happy about the way we played tonight. ... Outside of losing the game, I thought we played very well."
GOLDEN STATE 140 FINAL
Apr 9 1:10 AM
GOLDEN STATE 103 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 9 12:26 AM
GOLDEN STATE 77 HALFTIME
Apr 8 11:45 PM
GOLDEN STATE 39 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 8 11:08 PM
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