Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Friday, November 14th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 21st
Game 3: Sunday, March 21st
Game 4: Sunday, March 28th

Warriors 96

(29-40, 8-27 away)

Clippers 85

(27-43, 18-17 home)

    12:30 PM ET, March 21, 2004

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    GS 27 29 19 2196
    LAC 14 28 16 2785

    Top Performers

    GS: J. Richardson 28 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    LAC: E. Brand 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Of L.A.'s top five scorers, only Brand plays

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors had no empathy for the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Clippers at either end of the court.

    Jason Richardson scored 13 of his 28 points in the first quarter and grabbed nine rebounds for the Warriors, who coasted to an easy 96-85 victory on Sunday against a Clippers squad missing four of its top five scorers.

    "We knew we had to take advantage of it," Richardson said. "We couldn't take them lightly because we knew that Bobby Simmons and Matt Barnes were going to come out and play hard, so we tried to open it up right out of the gate. I was feeling pretty good in the first quarter and was hitting some big shots, and that got me going for the rest of the game."

    Erick Dampier had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Warriors, whose fourth straight victory matched their longest winning streak of the season -- following a season-worst nine consecutive losses. Dampier leads Western Conference centers with 38 double-doubles.

    "When you can hold a team to 38 percent shooting, that's obviously a key for us -- to allow them to make only two or three runs on their home floor," Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. "They're a team that scored in transition, but I thought we had real good transition defense.

    "Richardson came out and played with a lot of force early in the game and played very confidently at both ends of the floor -- and Dampier was off the charts for us in the first half. We're playing the best team defense we've had all year."

    The Clippers, coming off consecutive down-to-the-wire defeats to their Staples Center co-tenants, the Lakers, lost for the 11th time in 13 games.

    Power forward Elton Brand, the only healthy Clipper averaging more than 7.1 points, drew most of the defensive attention from the Warriors and missed his first four shots before finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie center Chris Kaman, the only Clipper to appear in every game this season, played 12 scoreless minutes.

    "Missing three starters was kind of tough, but I didn't feel helpless out there," Brand said. "Four of our five top scorers were out, but we were still in this game and we could have won it. We just didn't bring the energy. Guys were coming off the bench filling those spots and they had to step up. It was just disappointing."

    The Clippers used their 23rd different starting lineup, with Corey Maggette unavailable because of a sore left knee and Quentin Richardson sidelined by back spasms. Backup center Chris Wilcox sat out his fourth straight game due to a strained left Achilles' tendon, and Marko Jaric missed his eighth game because of a sprained big toe on his left foot.

    It was the third time this season that Maggette and Richardson missed the same game, and the first time at home. In the other two games, the Clippers beat Toronto 78-68 on Jan. 9, and lost to Memphis 102-100 on Feb. 11.

    "During the course of a season, you're going to have injuries," Simmons said. "After we got comfortable, we made a game of it. But they had too many rebounds and easy baskets, and we couldn't hit our shots."

    The Warriors built a 22-point lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, winning in wire-to-wire fashion for the second time in four games. They pulled away with a 14-3 run capped by Clifford Robinson's tip-in with 5:40 left in the first half, extending their margin to 45-23. Robinson finished with 18 points.

    The Clippers narrowed the gap to 75-64 on a 22-footer by Predrag Drobnjak with 10:33 to play, but they never got closer than nine points on a pair of 3-pointers by Keyon Dooling in the final minute.

    "A lot of guys who don't get a chance to play a lot of minutes got that opportunity today," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "This game is all about being ready and having your legs ready. We needed to play better. We just didn't finish around the basket. All year we've been suffering from bad decision making."

    One thing that kept the game close was Golden State's 4-for-22 shooting from 3-point range.

    "I thought we got good looks," Musselman said. "When you play against a zone, you're going to take a lot of 3-point shots."

    Game notes

    Dunleavy observed his 50th birthday on Sunday. "I'm starting the back nine today," joked the Clippers' coach, a 14-handicapper on the golf course -- and now eligible for the Champions Tour. ... The national anthem was sung by former San Diego Clippers center Swen Nater, who still holds the franchise record for career field-goal percentage (54.2), rebounds in a season (1,216) and rebounds in a game (32). Nater was honored by the team in a halftime ceremony more than 20 years after playing his last game for them. ... Warriors G Avery Johnson turns 39 on Thursday. ... Golden State signed J.R. Bremer to a second 10-day contract. F Troy Murphy was scratched because of a sprained left ankle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 85
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 30-78 (.385)
    3PM-3PA 4-22 (.182) 3-10 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 22-29 (.759) 22-25 (.880)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-46 9-35
    Assists 23 20
    Turnovers 19 14
    Steals 7 13
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 20 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Golden State
    Los Angeles
    Jason Richardson Richardson
    Points: 28
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1