Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/20

Game 1: Saturday, December 20th
Warriors110Final
Bobcats103
Game 2: Friday, February 27th
Bobcats112Final
Warriors109

Warriors 110

(8-20, 4-13 away)

Bobcats 103

(9-19, 7-10 home)

Coverage: FSCR

7:00 PM ET, December 20, 2008

Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

1 2 3 4 T
GS 27 29 31 23110
CHA 29 27 23 24103

Top Performers

Golden State: J. Crawford 50 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

Charlotte: G. Wallace 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

Crawford's 50 points help Warriors end five-game losing streak

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Maybe a defensive coordinator will work in basketball. But it sure helps when you've got a guy hitting almost every shot at the other end.

Behind 50 points from Jamal Crawford, the Golden State Warriors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 110-103 on Saturday night, giving Warriors coach Don Nelson a win in his first game with a new coaching structure.

Mr. Versatility

Jamal Crawford scored 50 points Saturday night for the Golden State Warriors. It's the third different team Crawford has played for while scoring 50 points. He's the only active player to have accomplished this, and just the fourth in NBA history.

Player Teams
Jamal Crawford Bulls, Knicks, Warriors
Wilt Chamberlain Warriors, 76ers, Lakers
Bernard King Warriors, Knicks, Bullets
Moses Malone Rockets, Bullets, 76ers

Yielding control of his NBA-worst defense to assistant Keith Smart and calling him the "defensive coordinator," the Warriors did just enough at that end and let Crawford dominate on offense in his best game since being acquired from New York last month.

"He's an amazing scorer when he heats up," Nelson said.

Crawford was 14-of-26 from the field, 5-of-8 from 3-point range and made 17 of 18 free throws. He was two points shy of his career high, and became the first Warrior to reach 50 points since Antawn Jamison did it in consecutive games in the 2000-01 season.

Crawford continually beat Raja Bell and Raymond Felton off the dribble for layups or fouls, bringing the type of explosive offense the Warriors envisioned when they sent Al Harrington to the Knicks to get him.

Fast Facts

• Golden State snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 4-13 on the road this season.

• Jamal Crawford scored 50 points, his third career 50-point game and second 40-point game of the season.

• Raja Bell scored 21 points after totaling just 12 points in his previous four games in a Bobcats uniform.

-- ESPN research

"I feel like I can pretty much get any shot I want," Crawford said. "I let people off the hook by settling for jump shots."

Golden State played again without top scorers Corey Maggette (hamstring) and Stephen Jackson (hand), who is not expected to return until Friday, making Crawford the go-to guy.

Kelenna Azubuike added 21 points and the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak with Nelson and Smart co-coaching the team.

Gerald Wallace scored 26 points,and Bell added 21 for the Bobcats, who failed to win three in a row for the first time this season and couldn't contain Crawford.

"Basically you've got a guy out there with his confidence as high as the sky and he's only playing one end," Wallace said of Crawford. "He's only playing offense, so what can you say?"

Maybe Nelson's new strategy has a ways to go to be successful.

Nelson said he decided Friday afternoon to turn over the defense to Smart, explaining after Friday's loss to Atlanta that he's not tough enough and that "I'm getting soft as I get older."

The 68-year-old Nelson didn't inform the players of the move until before Saturday's game, which the Warriors entered allowing 112.2 points per game.

Smart got out of his seat and shouting instructions when Charlotte had the ball. They each had chairs in the huddle during timeouts, and several times Smart spoke before Nelson.

"I think that's an honor and a credit to Nellie," Crawford said. "I think him being a Hall of Fame guy and identifying that as one of his weaknesses and doing something about it, it's a credit to Coach Nel."

The defense faltered early in the fourth quarter, as the Bobcats cut a 12-point deficit to 95-88 on Felton's 3-pointer with 4:53 left. Crawford responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession, then later added two free throws and a mid-range jumper.

It was quite a turnaround from a night earlier, when Crawford scored six points on 3-of-15 shooting.

"I was just out of it yesterday," Crawford said. "I got mad [at myself] yesterday and I played horribly because of it."

The Bobcats, who shot a franchise-best 66 percent in a blowout win Friday at Memphis, were mad they couldn't build off their best performance of the season.

Boris Diaw got into foul trouble and was held to 11 points. Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 13 rebounds, but air-balled a free throw with his team down by five with 28.3 seconds left.

"When you're not a great team, you've got to be ready to play every night," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said.

Crawford made up for subpar games from some of his teammates. A night after scoring a career-high 19 points, Brandan Wright got the start, committed three fouls in five minutes, and didn't score. Rookie Anthony Randolph, after not getting off the bench against the Hawks, scored two points in seven minutes.

It didn't matter with Crawford schooling whomever guarded him. His offbalance 3 over Felton put Golden State ahead 84-72 late in the third quarter.

Game notes


Warriors G Anthony Morrow, who last month set a record for the most points (37) scored by an undrafted rookie, handed out more than 50 tickets to friends and family in his return to his hometown. "I get to come back home. It's just a blessing," Morrow said. ... Former Hornets and Cavaliers coach Paul Silas attended the game. His son, Stephen, is a Warriors assistant.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
GS
CHA
Points 110 103
FGM-FGA 35-77 (.455) 38-81 (.469)
3PM-3PA 10-18 (.556) 11-19 (.579)
FTM-FTA 30-36 (.833) 16-23 (.696)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-43 12-39
Assists 18 26
Turnovers 15 18
Steals 5 6
Blocks 5 10
Fast Break Points 8 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 27 (0/0)
Largest Lead 12 8

Top Performers

Golden State
Charlotte
Jamal Crawford Crawford
Points: 50
Reb: 2
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Gerald Wallace Wallace
Points: 26
Reb: 4
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 2