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Montgomery scores first NBA victory

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors were desperate
for a win. They didn't dare assume they would get one against the
expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

The Warriors staved off their worst start in franchise history
Saturday night with a surprisingly easy 103-87 victory over the
Bobcats.

"We didn't have the right to come in and say `We'll win
this," said first-year Golden State coach Mike Montgomery. "They
were probably looking at us a game they could get."

Montgomery opened his NBA career with six consecutive losses,
putting the Warriors in danger of besting the franchise futility
mark set at the start of the 1997-98 season by opening 0-9.

They avoided it behind Jason Richardson, who scored a game-high
27 points, and Troy Murphy's 22.

"It feels like we won the national championship," said
Montgomery, famous for failing to win a title in 18 seasons at
Stanford. "There was a huge elephant in the room and the thing was
getting bigger and bigger."

The win was a lot easier than Golden State expected because of a
myriad of injuries to Charlotte.

Already down to 10 players because of injury, Emeka Okafor and
Jason Hart both left the game with ankle injuries, and Primoz
Brezec was bothered by a sore shoulder that had him playing with
just one arm.

"It's those damn (Carolina) Panthers -- it's contagious and they
passed it on," said Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff, referring to
Charlotte's NFL team, which has 11 players out for the year.

"With the group we had tonight, that was about as good as we
could do."

But because the Warriors have been so bad in their losses, they
should have expected a fight from the Bobcats, who have been
surprisingly good.

The Bobcats didn't roll over in their first four games and had a
chance to win late each time except in Friday night's loss to
Boston.

So against winless Golden State, that effort should have been
enough to give them their second victory of the season.

Instead, the Warriors ran right over them.

The Warriors built a 22-point, first-half lead against the
undermanned Bobcats. Still, Charlotte somehow sliced a 19-point
lead in half before the end of the third quarter.

"A few guys went down tonight, but all in all we started the
fourth quarter and we were right there," Charlotte guard Eddie
House said.

Then Richardson stepped up and put Golden State back in control.

After Derek Fisher opened the fourth quarter with a basket to
put Golden State up 74-63, Richardson made a pair of baskets in a
6-0 run, and added a 20-footer that put the Warriors up 84-71 with
8:09 to play.

Golden State pulled away from there.

"This was a must win for us," Richardson said. "We gave our
best and played hard. We played with a sense of urgency and when
you start paying attention to detail and your back is to the wall,
you've got to find a way to bring it."

Gerald Wallace led Charlotte with 22 points, House added 20, and
Steve Smith scored 13. Brezec had his first off night of the season
with eight points and seven rebounds.

Game notes
Charlotte G Brevin Knight spent most of the pregame
shootaround catching up with Montgomery, who coached him at
Stanford. ... Short on big bodies and worried about overplaying
Okafor and Brezec, Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said he doesn't
have many options because forward Jamal Sampson is not ready to
come off the injured list. ... Charlotte forward Theron Smith, who
missed 53 games with Memphis last season because of injury, said he
was disappointed to have arthroscopic surgery earlier this week. He
hopes to be back in four weeks.