Report: Nelson says sitting Davis was reaction to poor play

Updated: April 16, 2008, 12:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

It's a question that's perplexing Golden State Warriors fans: Why did coach Don Nelson sit Baron Davis for the second half of a game the Warriors needed to win to stay alive in the Western Conference race -- a game Golden State lost, eliminating the team from the playoffs?

[+] EnlargeBaron Davis and Don Nelson
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiWarriors coach Don Nelson (right) says he doesn't have a problem with Baron Davis, even after benching him during Monday's loss, which eliminated Golden State from the playoffs.
Nelson said the explanation was "real simple," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"He was having a bad game. He was terrible," Nelson said of Davis, according to the Chronicle. "He was the worst player on the floor, and I told him to take the second half off. He was 2-for-13, we were down 14 points. "I said, 'Hey, let's relax and play some young guys.'"

The Warriors, down 71-57 to the Suns at halftime on Monday, stormed back with a 38-19 third quarter to take the lead with Davis on the bench. But they could not hold on down the stretch as the Suns won 122-116, assuring there won't be a repeat of Golden State's stunning series win as a No. 8 seed in this year's playoffs.

Davis, for his part, has said very little about his benching in the second half. "Ain't your story" is all he said to reporters after the game, and in a blog entry on his Web site, he offered little more insight.

"I hate losing," Davis wrote. "I play this game to win, and it's even harder when I feel like I wasn't able to help my team do that."

But Nelson said there's not a personal rift between himself and Davis, despite the benching.

"There's no problem between Baron and [me]," Nelson said, according to the report. "He's probably upset because he played terrible."

Davis' agent, however, is still looking for answers.

"The same questions that you have are the same questions that I have," Ramasar said Tuesday, according to the Chronicle."Why wasn't Baron on the floor? Was there an injury, argument, questions, whatever? I've asked the same things.

"There was no injury. Nothing was said. It was a coach's decision, which is odd ... with so much that hinged on [Monday] night's game," he said, according to the report. "Obviously, [Baron] wanted to be in there playing. He's asking himself why he wasn't in the game. But it was a coach's decision."

Davis can opt out of the final year of his contract, which would pay him $17.2 million. But Ramasar said that is unlikely, because there are no teams with enough salary cap room to pay Davis that kind of money.

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