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Warriors spoil Mengke Bateer's NBA debut

2/28/2002

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mengke Bateer, 30 turnovers and a nearly empty arena couldn't deter the Golden State Warriors from their fourth victory of 2002.

Antawn Jamison had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Warriors snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 110-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Rookie Jason Richardson had 23 points as two of the NBA's four
teams that still haven't won 20 games played an entertaining,
up-tempo game featuring the Denver debut of Mengke, a 6-foot-11
native Mongolian who played for China in the last two Olympics.

Mengke, the second Chinese player to make the NBA, wore No. 27
as he played 14 scoreless minutes and committed five fouls, though
he also threw a nice crosscourt outlet pass for his first assist.
Earlier in the week, he signed a contract for the rest of the season.

"Some new plays I really don't understand much, but I can get
better next game," Mengke said through an interpreter.

"I know I made some stupid mistakes, but once I practice more, I'll pick them up. Because of my dream to play in this league, I have to leave my family and home team in Beijing. I came over here so I could become a better player."

The Warriors made the most turnovers by any team in the NBA this
season and won largely because they shot 52 free throws. But any
victory is a good one for Golden State.

"I want to get up and down the court, but I don't want to throw the ball all over the place," Warriors coach Brian Winters said. "We didn't exactly light it up tonight, but we made enough baskets to sustain our lead. You can overcome the turnovers when you shoot that many free throws."

Juwan Howard scored 21 points for the Nuggets, who will make yet
another large addition to their lineup on Friday if Antonio McDyess makes his expected return from his knee injury. They could use the
help -- the Nuggets shot less than 36 percent and were outrebounded
61-40.

"Any time you get your best player back, it does nothing but
inspire your guys," coach Mike Evans said. "We could use a little
inspiration right now. ... That's a lot of beef Golden State has
out there. They banged us around pretty good."

Tim Hardaway had 18 points and six assists in his third game
with the Nuggets since he and Howard arrived in a trade with
Dallas. Denver committed 34 fouls, and Golden State was 43-of-52 on
free throws.

"We got one win, but the most important thing for us is to get a smile on our faces," said Jamison, who went 14-for-17 from the line. "We did a good job defensively in the first half. We got a lot of easy buckets, and that really played into our favor."

During an outstanding first half, Golden State looked nothing
like the directionless team that bumbled its way to 22 losses in
its previous 25 games.

Richardson scored 16 points and the Warriors hit 13 of their
first 18 shots, finishing the half with 66 points -- the most
they've had in any half this season. Even 15 turnovers couldn't
slow down the Warriors, who handily outrebounded Denver and got the
few fans in attendance on their feet.

The Warriors got excellent production from their point guard
combination of Larry Hughes and rookie Gilbert Arenas. Hughes had 12 points, while Arenas provided a spark in reserve with 14 points and five assists.

Game notes
The Nuggets expect forward McDyess to return to action on
Friday when they play host to Memphis. McDyess, the Nuggets'
leading scorer and rebounder in 2000-01, has missed every game this
season after undergoing surgery Oct. 12 to repair a partially torn
patellar tendon. ... It was the 2,000th victory in the Warriors'
franchise history. ... Danny Fortson had 14 rebounds for Golden
State. ... The announced crowd was 11,507, but there couldn't have
been more than 5,000 people in the Arena in Oakland. ... Dean
Garrett, acquired by the Warriors for Marc Jackson last week,
dressed but didn't play in his second straight game.