OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Since everything else was going so perfectly for the Golden State Warriors, Gilbert Arenas figured it was time to break out the best stuff: a bounce-pass alley-oop to his high-flying teammate, Jason Richardson.
Like nearly everything else the Warriors did in a 135-92 victory over the Orlando Magic, it was surprising and thrilling.
Troy Murphy had a career-high 24 points, and Arenas had 23 as the Warriors handed Orlando its worst loss in franchise history and posted their biggest victory in nearly nine years.
One night after a gritty performance in an overtime loss to the
Lakers, Golden State played four quarters of spectacular offense,
highlighted by a 15-0 run to take a 100-70 lead entering the
Arenas capped it with his showboat pass to Richardson, the
defending NBA dunk champion, for an electrifying jam with 19.1
seconds left in the third.
"We never tried that in a game,'' Arenas said. "We practice that just for the dunk contest. He called my name. I was going to shoot it, but it was a great opportunity to show the crowd.
"I was hoping that he made it, because if he didn't, I was getting pulled out of the game. It all happened perfectly.''
It was Golden State's biggest victory since a 141-95 win over the Clippers on Dec. 23, 1993. That win occurred in the last season Golden State made the playoffs -- and perhaps the last time Warriors fans had as much hope as this young roster has generated under rookie coach Eric Musselman.
"When we win, it's usually not by a lot,'' said Murphy, who had 12 rebounds. "Tonight is not something that we're really used to. It will be telling to see how we come out in our next game. I think everybody's very excited about it.''
Richardson had several spectacular dunks among his 18 points as
the Warriors reached a highlight of their rebuilding project with a
blowout victory over the NBA's highest-scoring team. Golden State
had the highest single-game scoring total in the league this season, as well as the franchise's biggest night in nearly eight years.
With just their second win in 10 games, the Warriors also
snapped a five-game losing streak against the Magic, who lost for
the third time in four games with a pitiful defensive effort.
Golden State, showing all the flair and excitement its raw
roster suggests, repeatedly exploited the Magic's interior defense
for layups, dunks and inside-out passes for open jumpers. The
Warriors also excelled on defense, forcing 14 turnovers and holding
Orlando to eight assists -- the fewest in franchise history.
"It's our intensity on defense that's been bothering us,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "We're searching for our big guys to step up, and that puts pressure on the small guys. I think our bench is pretty thin, that's obvious.''
Tracy McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer, had 33 points before
sitting out the fourth quarter. He made 16 of his 20 free throws,
one shy of the league high this season, but Orlando was humbled on
the second stop of a six-game road trip.
The defeat eclipsed the Magic's 144-92 loss to Boston on Jan. 30, 1991.
"Our defense has been the problem,'' said Darrell Armstrong, who had two points in 21 minutes. "Their guys were just getting shots on me and on the other guys. Right now, we've just got to take a stand as a team and play together. It wasn't fun to watch that game.''
Antawn Jamison scored all 22 of his points in the second half,
but the Warriors were led by Murphy, Arenas and Richardson -- the
three stars of their 2001 draft class who all have cracked Golden
State's starting lineup.
The trio scored 63 points in the first three quarters as the
Warriors shot 53 percent and romped to an insurmountable lead.
The Magic entered averaging more than 106 points, but Golden
State played a frenetic offensive game from the opening tip. The
Warriors set season highs with 31 points in the first quarter and
65 points before halftime.
Jamison, the NBA's fifth-leading scorer with more than 26 points per game, got two fouls and played just 6 scoreless minutes in the first half.
Grant Hill scored just eight points, also sitting out the fourth as Rivers preserved his starters for the rest of the trip.
It was the Warriors' highest-scoring game since Feb. 17, 1995, when they scored 139 against Phoenix. ... Erick Dampier ferociously blocked McGrady's one-handed dunk attempt midway through the third quarter. ... Before the game, the Warriors waived F-C Guy Rucker, who helped fill in at practice while Danny Fortson was away from the team after his father's death. ... Golden State's Adonal Foyle shot nine free throws in a 2:11 span late in the third quarter.