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Warriors snap 8-game skid vs. Bucks

3/25/2004

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Though the Golden State Warriors' longest
winning streak of the season has arrived a bit too late to propel
them into the playoffs, their veterans see plenty of reasons to
keep working hard.

Cliff Robinson scored 18 points and matched his career high with
nine assists in the Warriors' fifth straight victory, 98-89 over
the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Mike Dunleavy scored 18 points and Erick Dampier had 18 points
and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who led from the opening minute
and fought off the Bucks' late charge to snap an eight-game losing
streak against Milwaukee.

Golden State is 30-40. In the Eastern Conference, the Warriors
would be one game out of a playoff spot -- but in the West, they're
buried in 12th place, 6{ games behind eighth-place Denver.

But Dampier, who's been around for seven seasons, appears
energized by the Warriors' refusal to shut down their season
despite a slew of injuries. He's averaging 15 points and 12.8
rebounds during the streak, making more than 58 percent of his
shots.

"I think at this point, we're only playing for pride," Dampier
said. "Nobody is laying down, and nobody is giving up. We're
leaving it all out on the floor, and we're going to try to win
these last 12 games that we have left."

Mickael Pietrus, who also scored 18 points, and Robinson hit
back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minutes shortly after
Milwaukee closed to 82-81. Jason Richardson also got consecutive
baskets in the closing moments, finishing with 12 points and eight
rebounds.

Golden State improved to 22-13 at home with balanced scoring and
impressive defense. The Warriors opened a three-game homestand with
their fourth straight victory in Oakland and raised hopes for a
strong finish to what's expected to be their 10th consecutive
season out of the playoffs -- largely because of a nine-game losing
streak that preceded their current winning run.

Golden State's veteran leaders -- Robinson, Dampier and Avery
Johnson, among others -- are keeping their teammates focused on the
final goal. Robinson seems all but certain to miss the playoffs for
the first time in his 15-year career, but maintaining his positive
attitude isn't tough.

"I tell these guys every day that this game has allowed us to
do a lot of things that we may not have had the opportunity to
do," Robinson said. "Don't go out and disrespect the game that
has done so much for you. We have to just play for the guys in the
room. We've been through a lot, and to finish up strong would be
good."

The Warriors had lost five straight home games to the Bucks, who
got 24 points from Michael Redd and 20 from Desmond Mason.
Milwaukee lost for the sixth time in seven games, falling below
.500 (35-36) during the skid for the first time since Dec. 30.

Milwaukee still holds the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference,
one game ahead of Miami, but the Bucks picked up two new injuries:
Damon Jones sat out most of the second half with a strained right
calf, and Dan Gadzuric sprained his right ankle in the second
quarter.

The Bucks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 112-101
victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, but didn't have
the energy for back-to-back wins.

"We had a hard time getting our minds into it," Milwaukee
coach Terry Porter said. "We didn't come out with a lot of energy.
It's kind of disappointing. We talked about Golden State playing
well, but our defensive awareness just wasn't there."

Milwaukee was sluggish until the fourth quarter, while Pietrus
and Dampier, who blocked four shots, caused defensive hassles for
several Bucks. With their third loss in four games on their
five-game road trip, the Bucks fell to 2-12 against the West this
season.

Redd described Milwaukee's road trip as "almost borderline
miserable."

"Believe it or not, we're still in fifth place in the East,"
the All-Star continued. "We've got to keep winning games and
separate ourselves from the sixth seed. We've got to bounce
back."

Game notes
Troy Murphy returned to the Warriors' lineup after missing
Sunday night's game with a sprained ankle. He had seven points and
seven rebounds. ... Jones played 13 games for the Golden State
Warriors during the 1999-00 season. Oakland was the third of his
eight NBA stops so far.