OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- After a miserable first half that brought
back memories of the bad old days, a few fans booed the Golden
State Warriors off the floor.
Baron Davis ordered his teammates to ignore it, but they
responded with a second half that showed they might have been
Jason Richardson scored 28 points and Davis added 15 points and
seven assists before leaving with a strained left hamstring during
the decisive third quarter of a 122-97 victory over the Atlanta
Hawks on Wednesday night.
After missing 11 free throws, making 14 turnovers and getting
soundly outrebounded in the first half, the future looked a whole
lot like the dismal past for the Warriors, who have had 11 straight
losing seasons. Davis insists this team is different: It has an
edge and a poise that's been lacking in Golden State since 1994.
So Golden State made an electric 27-2 run in the third quarter
of both clubs' season opener. The Warriors scored 39 points in the
third quarter and 36 more in the fourth, even after Davis was
reduced to a cheerleader with an apparently mild strain.
"Who cares about some boos?" asked Davis, who thinks he'll
play Friday against Utah. "We know what we've got to do. I told
the fellas at halftime, 'The one thing we don't do, we're not going
to play to the crowd, especially if they're booing us.' When we
start playing, they start cheering.
"People who were booing us probably weren't even Warriors fans,
so who cares?"
Troy Murphy had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors,
who erased a 10-point deficit with an impressive ease. Mike
Dunleavy and Derek Fisher hit 3-pointers to jump-start the lengthy
run, and Richardson added a pair of high-flying dunks.
Davis cheered from the bench while Richardson and the Warriors
finished off Atlanta with an impressive series of drives,
3-pointers and crisp fast breaks.
"We can't fold when guys get down like that," Richardson said.
"We've got to keep coming. We got a few bad things out of us in
the first half, and you couldn't hold us back after that."
After finishing last season with 15 wins in 20 games amid
several dazzling performances by Davis, the Warriors haven't been
such a hot ticket since the days of the Run-TMC trio and rookie
phenomenon Chris Webber. The club sold more than 4,000 additional
season tickets during the offseason in anticipation of a
Mickael Pietrus scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime, and
Derek Fisher added 12 points and five assists.
Al Harrington scored 18 points, while newcomer Joe Johnson had
17 but couldn't score in the middle two quarters for the Hawks, who
went 13-69 last year during the worst season in franchise history --
and then were scarred by the sudden death of backup center Jason
Collier on Oct. 15.
"You've got to give them credit, because they got after us, and
we went the other way," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "I don't
think it was just Joe. It was whoever handled the ball for us.
Everyone struggled to make plays with the basketball. That kind of
takes the starch out of your offense."
Marvin Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in last June's draft,
had 12 points in his NBA debut for the Hawks, who led 65-55 with 8½
minutes left in the third quarter. Golden State made a 44-14 run
over the next 12 minutes, ensuring Atlanta's fourth straight loss
"We were just inexperienced," Johnson said. "We had a nice
lead, and when they started making their run, everybody was trying
to do it themselves instead of sticking with the game plan. ... We
were inexperienced at a time we needed good leadership."
Johnson, acquired from the Suns in the offseason in a
controversial trade, vented his frustration with a flagrant foul on
Pietrus with 3:48 to play.
Tyronn Lue had 16 points for the Hawks, who lost their fifth
straight opener -- all on the road.
Dunleavy, who signed a five-year, $44 million contract
Monday, made five turnovers in the game's first 6:12. He finished
with 11 points. ... Both teams used 11 players in the first half.
... Hawks G Tony Delk missed the game for personal reasons. ...
Rookie Chris Taft played 17 minutes for the Warriors, scoring his
first NBA points on a dunk with 9:44 to play.