Wizards' 6-Game Win Streak Ends
Saturday, November 24, 2007
With his scraggly beard, bulky knee brace and hobbled gait, Golden State Warriors guard Baron Davis sometimes looks like the old-timer who plays basketball with the young guns at the local playground.
Once Davis gets a basketball in his hands, however, good things tend to happen for his team.
That was the case last night, when Davis posted a triple-double (33 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds) and helped the Warriors snap the Washington Wizards' six-game winning streak with a 123-115 victory in front of a sellout crowd at Verizon Center.
The Wizards, who had won three straight without injured guard Gilbert Arenas, were in a decent position to extend their run when Davis broke their spirits with several key plays down the stretch.
Davis drove and passed the ball out to an open Stephen Jackson, whose three-pointer with 3 minutes 7 seconds left gave the Warriors a three-point lead. In the final 1:48, Davis drew the defense and found an open Andris Biedrins, who made a layup; made a 21-foot jump shot; and put the game away when he drove and made a layup while drawing a foul on Wizards center Andray Blatche.
Davis made the free throw, giving Golden State a 119-113 lead.
Davis, Jackson (28 points, six three-pointers) and Golden State's season-high 16 three-pointers helped overcome the first triple-double of Butler's career, Antawn Jamison's 30 points and 12 rebounds and rookie Nick Young's career-high 18 points off the bench.
"They shot the heck out of the ball and Baron Davis controlled the game pretty much," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "And then we had some basic basketball breakdowns that hurt us."
One of those breakdowns came at a particularly bad time for the Wizards.
After Butler drove along the baseline and made a short jump shot, cutting the Golden State lead to 111-110 with 2:45 to play, Warriors guard Kelenna Azubuike beat several Wizards to the rebound of his own missed three-pointer. Azubuike passed the ball out to Monta Ellis and cut hard to the basket, where he received a pass back from Ellis and made a layup.
From that point on, Davis took over.
"He made some tough plays and put a lot of pressure on our defense to make us commit to him and then Stephen Jackson and those guys capitalized on those opportunities," said Butler, who finished with 26 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 11 rebounds and 10 assists in just over 42 minutes. "They had a heck of a game and now we just have to get prepared to play Memphis" tonight.
Butler's triple-double was the first for a Wizard since Larry Hughes did it on Nov. 28, 2003, but the big night did not come without cost.
Butler landed awkwardly on his right knee late in the third quarter and was walking with a limp after the game. He packed the knee in ice bags for the flight to Memphis and said he plans on being in the lineup tonight against the Grizzlies (3-9).
"I'll be fine," said Butler, who scored a career-high 39 points in Wednesday's win at Charlotte. "I'm not even sure what happened. I just came down on it wrong and something didn't feel right."
With Arenas already sidelined, the Wizards can't afford to lose another key player heading into a four-game trip that includes games at Dallas on Monday, San Antonio on Wednesday and Philadelphia on Friday.
The Wizards lost despite shooting 51.2 percent (Golden State shot 51.2 percent), outrebounding the Warriors 48-42 and turning the ball over only 12 times in a fast-paced game that featured 13 lead changes.
But the Warriors had hot three-point shooting and Davis, who is often overlooked because he is seemingly always battling injuries and has never played on one of the league's marquee teams.
"It was one of those games where when it's over, there are a lot of would've, could've, should've," Jamison said. "The last two minutes of the game really hurt us. . . . All we can do now is get on a plane and try to start another streak."