Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Warriors beat Lakers again

The Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. - Phil Jackson rarely has to worry about the Los Angeles Lakers' desire or their ability to get officiating calls at critical times. The Lakers had neither in a 106-102 loss to Golden State on Tuesday night, which left Jackson questioning his team's motivation as the Warriors celebrated yet another upset victory over the three-time champions.

Jason Richardson had six 3-pointers among his 26 points, and Earl Boykins drew a charge against Derek Fisher with 10.7 seconds left as the Warriors survived another late collapse and held off another late L.A. comeback attempt with a tenacity more common to the resilient Lakers.

"They wanted the game more than we did," said Jackson, who sat on the Lakers' bench with his fingers laced behind his head as Golden State held on. "It came down to a couple of loose balls and the late offensive foul call. We didn't excel in areas where we often excel."

Shaquille O'Neal had 36 points and nine rebounds, but he didn't speak to reporters after the Lakers rallied from another deficit with eight straight points in the final three minutes, but then went without a field goal in the final 2:19 to fall to 2-10 on the road this season.

Los Angeles trailed by nine with slightly more than three minutes to play, but Bryant, O'Neal and Fisher scored on consecutive possessions to cut the Warriors' lead to 101-100. The Lakers always seemed to win games like these over the past three seasons - but nothing about this campaign has gone according to plan.

Golden State led by two when Richardson turned the ball over with 15 seconds left - but Fisher plowed over the 5-foot-5 Boykins under the basket, killing Los Angeles' last shot at tying. It was a borderline call - and this time, it didn't go the Lakers' way.

"I don't feel like he got in front of me," Fisher said. "I saw him the whole time. I was into my jumping motion before someone was completely in front of me. It was my impression we were both running. That's the way it's been going on the road."

Gilbert Arenas and Boykins hit two free throws apiece in the final 10 seconds, and the Lakers missed three shots.

Kobe Bryant hit his funny bone in the second half, but he finished with 19 points and 14 assists for the Lakers, who had won two straight. They haven't had a three-game winning streak all season - and this loss pulled them back into a tie with Golden State for last place in the Pacific Division.

"It's not often that we have a packed house, and the guys really responded to that energy," Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. "That was entertaining basketball. We have a lot of room to grow still, and we're doing it."

Arenas scored 25 points as the Warriors shocked the champs for the third time in their last five trips to the Arena. With Richardson in top form and Boykins again providing a spark to the offense, Golden State won despite blowing all but one point of an 11-point fourth quarter lead - and shooting 21 free throws to the Lakers' 39.

Antawn Jamison scored 17 points, and Boykins scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, tossing in one picture-perfect leaner as O'Neal vainly swatted at it. Boykins, who signed with the Warriors just two weeks ago, addressed his teammates at practice on Monday, urging them to improve their late-game poise.

"They're a confident team, and that's what we've got to become," Boykins said. "(The charge) was just a matter of beating him down the court. It was a foot race to the basket, and he just ran me over."

The Warriors' first sellout crowd of the season was split fairly evenly between Lakers fans and Warriors fans. Even San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds made the scene, albeit incognito with a cap pulled low.

Golden State surged into the lead midway through the second quarter and never trailed again. The Warriors went up by 11 with 6:39 on another 3-pointer by Richardson, who's known more for his acrobatic leaping ability than his sometimes-suspect jumper.

Against the Lakers, Richardson was perfect on six 3-pointers - the most in franchise history without a miss. He credits extra time in the gym for his improvement this season, though he's only beginning to emerge from a slump.

The Warriors guarded O'Neal with a rotation of fresh defenders, though none made much of a dent. He went 12-for-17 from the field and 12-for-18 on the free throw line.

Notes: Jamison started his 185th consecutive game - the longest streak since Chris Mullin also started 185 straight from 1988-90. ... Braves slugger Gary Sheffield also attended the game Bonds, his good friend and Bay area training partner. ... Arenas' 17 points in the first quarter were the most by a Warriors player in any quarter this season. ... Brian Shaw, an Oakland native, filled several envelopes with tickets for friends and family before the game in the Lakers' locker room.

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