Friday , Mar , 30 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Warriors hold off Suns

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Jason Richardson scored a season-high 36 points
and buried a franchise-record eight shots from beyond the arc, as Golden State
held off a furious Phoenix comeback for a 124-119 victory.

Richardson ended 14-of-23 from the field, including 8-of-13 from three-point
range, and had 12 rebounds, as the Warriors moved within a game of the Los
Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western
Conference.

It was a stark contrast to Richardson’s last game, when he was 0-for-8 from
the floor and ended with no points in a 126-89 home loss to San Antonio on
Monday.

“It was huge for me to come out tonight,” Richardson said. “(Against San
Antonio on Monday) was one of the worst games I’ve had in my career. I owe my
coaches more than what I did the last game and I really wanted to do
something, but I wasn’t really expecting to shoot the ball like that tonight.”

Stephen Jackson had 29 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Golden
State, which snapped a two-game skid. Baron Davis tallied 21 points, eight
boards and 12 assists, and came up with a big steal and layup in the final
minute to thwart Phoenix’s rally.

Leandro Barbosa had 27 points for the Pacific Division-champion Suns, who have
lost two of three. Boris Diaw added 18 points and Amare Stoudemire contributed
17 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which gave up 45 points in the first
quarter, 77 in the opening half, but still nearly rallied from a 25-point
deficit late in the third quarter.

“These guys are fighting for their lives,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said of
the Warriors. “We’re not fighting for our lives. We’d like to stay ahead of
San Antonio. We’re trying to step it up, but when they come out like that, and
have that juice, and the crowd with them, it’d been hard for anybody .”

Phoenix is two games ahead of the Spurs for the second-best record in the
Western Conference.

Kurt Thomas’ free throw brought the Suns within 122-116 with 1:33 left, and
Davis then missed a jumper.

Barbosa had the ball knocked out of bounds, but Phoenix retained possession.
However, after a timeout, Davis stole in the inbounds pass and coasted in for
a layup with 58.7 seconds left.

Barbosa then missed a pair of three-pointers, sealing Phoenix’s fate.

The Warriors caught fire early by going 19-of-29 from the field in the opening
12 minutes, building a 45-33 lead. Golden State scored 15 in a row at one
point in the period for an 18-6 lead and the cushion reached 20 at 42-22.

The Suns continued to falter with their starters in the game late in the
second, falling behind 77-63 after just 24 minutes. Richardson had 26 points
at the break, a half in which the Warriors went 33-of-55 from the field.

The lead widened to as high as 109-84 in the final minute of the third
following a slam from Mickael Pietrus before Phoenix rallied.

A 9-2 spurt brought the score to 116-104 with 5:48 left, but the Suns ran out
of gas.

Game Notes

The Suns host Denver on Friday, while Golden State is at home against Memphis
on Sunday…Monta Ellis had 16 points for the Warriors, who ended 51-of-98
from the field, including 13-of-31 from three-point land…Steve Nash had 14
points and nine assists for the Suns, who ended the season 3-1 versus the
Warriors…Golden State’s 77 first-half points were the most for the team in a
half since they had 77 against Minnesota on April 1, 1994…Richardson tied
Joe Hasset’s record for three-pointers in a quarter with five.

GSW PHO