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Nuggets have no answers for Richardson

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jason Richardson used his injury time to
visualize all the ways he could play better.

Richardson did everything in his first game back, scoring a
career-high 42 points and matching his career best with eight
assists in the Warriors' 107-97 win over the Denver Nuggets on
Monday night.

"You dream of it. You envision it when you're on the bench and
at home waiting to come back," he said. "I couldn't believe I did
it."

The Warriors were winless in his absence, but ended a
season-long nine-game losing streak thanks to the big emotional
boost they got having their leading scorer back from a sprained
ankle. He scored 30 or more in consecutive games for the first time
in his career. He had 35 points in a 111-105 win over Toronto on
Dec. 29, Golden State's last victory.

Richardson sure didn't appear out of shape -- one of coach Mike
Montgomery's concerns coming in -- playing 39 minutes and shooting
17-for-30 (56 percent). He scored 11 of his points in the third
quarter, including a pretty two-handed backward slam, and even had
a huge blocked shot of Kenyon Martin late in the period that sent
the ball into the Nuggets bench.

"Much needed. Much appreciated. Nice to have J.R. back, isn't
it?" Montgomery said. "I don't think in my wildest dreams I'd
have thought he'd go for 42 and eight assists, but I'll take it."

Richardson scored eight straight in the fourth quarter and also
finished with three steals. Troy Murphy added 22 points and 17
rebounds and Speedy Claxton had 18 points, seven assists, five
steals and four rebounds.

Nuggets coach Michael Cooper, a former defensive specialist with
the Lakers, was impressed with Richardson's return.

"I think in my prime it would have been difficult to stop that
young man tonight," Cooper said.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and eight rebounds and Andre
Miller added 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Denver's
seventh loss in eight games. The undermanned Nuggets hurt their
chances with sloppy ballhandling, committing 22 turnovers -- 10 by
the usually reliable Miller -- in their eighth straight road defeat.

"We beat ourselves again," Miller said.

DeMarr Johnson added a season-high 22 points off the bench for
Denver, which played without suspended forwards Marcus Camby and
Nene and center Francisco Elson. The trio combined for 35 points in
the last game at Golden State, a 104-101 loss Dec. 27.

Nene was suspended four games for fighting, and Camby and Elson
one game each for leaving the bench during an altercation in the
third quarter of a 93-83 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on
Friday.

The Nuggets used a 9-2 run to start the third quarter, but
Golden State then scored 12 unanswered points and went on an 18-3
spurt to make it 69-64.

Tiny Earl Boykins, a former Warrior who's 5-foot-5, contributed
16 points, four rebounds and four assists for Denver. Martin had 11
points and 13 boards.

"We didn't score or execute at the end of the game," Boykins
said. "That's the way we've been losing games."

Golden State, which also had a nine-game skid last season,
avoided its first 10-game losing streak since March 9-24, 2002.

The Warriors used a 14-2 run starting late in the first quarter
to take the lead, but the Nuggets answered with a 16-0 spurt and
led 52-49 at the break behind 17 points from Anthony.

Richardson had 19 before halftime, as fans hollered "Welcome
back, JRich!"

He is the first Golden State player to score 35 or more points
in back-to-back games since Antawn Jamison had 51 in consecutive
games on Dec. 3 and 6, 2000.

"He worked hard for that," teammate Mickael Pietrus said. "He
had a great night. He came out really focused, and he did it."

Game notes
The last time the Nuggets came to town, coach Jeff Bzdelik
was fired the following day and Cooper was promoted from assistant
to interim head coach. Cooper is 2-7 since taking over and the
Warriors are 2-9. ... The Warriors don't play again until Friday
against the Lakers in Los Angeles, and Montgomery gave his team
Tuesday off. ... Martin Luther King Jr. speech excerpts were shown
along with commentary about his influence from Warriors players.
... Seldom-used Golden State C Dale Davis hinted that he'd like to
be traded before the Feb. 24 deadline. "Of course my situation
hasn't been the best here and you always want to keep your options
open," he said. "I'm definitely ready to pursue what makes sense.
If I'm really not going to be used here, it's more than likely I'll
be moved."

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On the Net:

Denver Nuggets: http://www.nba.com/nuggets

Golden State Warriors: http://www.nba.com/warriors

National Basketball Association: http://www.nba.com