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Warriors split season series

3/16/2004

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mickael Pietrus had one job Monday night:
Make trouble for his former French teammate.

In his fifth NBA start, Pietrus led one of Golden State's best
defensive outings of the season in the Warriors' 97-80 victory over
the San Antonio Spurs and Tony Parker.

Parker, who played with Pietrus on the French national team,
scored 29 points but was 9-for-19 from the field and got 11 of his
points at the free throw line.

"In the NBA, we're not friends," said Pietrus, who only three
days earlier criticized his teammates to Parker after a 25-point
loss at San Antonio. "When we step on the court, I try to be
successful with the Warriors. I sacrifice myself. I told him before
the game I'm going to defend crazy on him."

Jason Richardson scored 22 points as the Warriors snapped a
season-long nine-game losing streak.

"I don't want to make excuses, but we missed a lot of wide-open
shots," Parker said. "If we made a few of those, it would have
been a whole different game."

Parker also had five rebounds and six assists for the
cold-shooting Spurs, who again struggled without center Tim Duncan.
He missed his second straight game and ninth in 10 because of
irritation in his left knee.

San Antonio is 5-4 without the two-time league MVP, who's
averaging 22.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich would not speculate on Duncan's status. "I don't know,"
Popovich said. "It's a weird injury."

Duncan stayed in the training room after the game and didn't
speak to reporters.

The 22-year-old Pietrus was Golden State's top pick in last
year's NBA draft, taken 11th overall. He was in the starting lineup
against the Spurs because "he did a good job against Parker last
time," coach Eric Musselman said.

His effort came after he berated his teammates Friday night for
not playing together. Pietrus apologized before Monday's game, then
did something to make up for it.

"I'm very proud of my teammates. That's the hardest we've
played in three or four months," he said. "I love the Warriors."

Mike Dunleavy added 19 points and Erick Dampier 16 and 11
rebounds for the Warriors, who hadn't won since point guard Speedy
Claxton broke his right hand Feb. 27.

Golden State split the season series with the reigning NBA
champions and swept them in Oakland for the first time since the
1996-97 season.

Manu Ginobili scored seven straight points in the fourth quarter
to pull the Spurs within 85-76, but Pietrus answered by swishing a
baseline 3-pointer on the other end. Ginobili had 16 points off the
bench, the only player aside from Parker in double figures.

After Robert Horry hit a long jumper just before the
third-quarter buzzer to pull the Spurs within 68-56, Golden State
came out for the final quarter with increased energy on the
defensive end.

And Richardson scored the Warriors' first eight points of the
period, making back-to-back 3-pointers during the stretch. He also
penetrated the defense and went baseline for an acrobatic
two-handed dunk.

San Antonio, which had its three-game winning streak snapped
Sunday in Sacramento, trailed by as many as 19 and shot 38.6
percent.

The Warriors shot 62.5 percent in the first quarter to build a
22-13 lead they never relinquished. Golden State led 45-33 at the
break.

"They came out and jumped on us and we were never able to
recover," Spurs forward Malik Rose said.

The Warriors are on the brink of missing the playoffs for the
10th straight season, which would tie the Dallas Mavericks
(1991-2000) for the league's second-longest streak behind the
Clippers' 15-year drought from 1977 to 1991.

Game notes
The NBA will speak to Dallas coach Don Nelson, who made
contact with Golden State G Avery Johnson via e-mail and offered
him a position on the Mavericks' coaching staff starting this
postseason. "We're going to speak to coach Nelson and tell him
that those types of actions aren't appropriate," NBA spokesman Tim
Frank said. "I don't think the intent here was to cause a problem,
but it's not allowed in our rules to have contact with players on
other teams." ... Parker's 29 points matched his season high. ...
Pietrus had a season-high seven rebounds. ... The Warriors held the
Spurs to 56 points through three quarters, an opponent season-low.