OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Van Exel had it out for the Golden
State fans as much as they had it out for Portland's fiery point
Booed throughout Wednesday's season opener, Van Exel taunted the
crowd in his own way, scoring 13 of his 20 points in the fourth
quarter against his former team in the Trail Blazers' 78-75 victory
over the Warriors.
Afterward, Van Exel -- showing his usual swagger and say-anything
attitude -- cursed the welcoming committee that once cheered him
during his injury-plagued stint with Golden State a year ago.
"I really got motivated because of the boos. I came into the
game expecting to get booed," said Van Exel, traded to the Blazers
in July. "Fans are fickle. They forget what you did in the
community. I tried to stick it to them."
Mike Dunleavy missed two 3-pointers in the final seven seconds,
including one at the buzzer, spoiling the NBA debut of Warriors
coach Mike Montgomery.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 18 points, five rebounds and four
assists for the Blazers, whose midseason shakeup last season wasn't
enough to keep them from missing the playoffs for the first time in
Zach Randolph, who signed an $84 million, six-year contract
extension Monday, had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Portland.
Dunleavy led the rebuilt Warriors with 17 points. Troy Murphy
had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Golden State's Dale Davis missed two free throws with 54 seconds
left, then Murphy missed a long jumper moments later.
Van Exel didn't play in Portland's two preseason losses to the
Warriors because of an ankle sprain.
"When we left the floor the last time we played Portland, Van
Exel said, 'Hey, you're going to have me next time," Montgomery
said. "I think the difference between this game and the two
exhibition games was simply Van Exel. He just really hurt us, and
gave them confidence."
When Van Exel made his second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter
with 8:16 remaining to give Portland the lead for good, he nodded
his head to taunt the crowd.
"That's Nick Van Exel, he does that," Warriors guard Jason
Richardson said. "He's the guy who likes revenge."
Montgomery took over the Warriors after 18 successful seasons at
Stanford, and this game marked the start of the latest Chris Mullin
era. Mullin, who spent 13 of his 16 NBA seasons with Golden State,
is the team's new executive vice president of basketball operations
and insists this club has the talent to end a 10-year playoff
Portland scored seven unanswered points to start the final
period. Van Exel did all his damage in 23 minutes, shooting
8-for-16. He also had five rebounds and four assists.
Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks stressed the importance of winning
on the road early in the year after going 16-25 away from the Rose
Garden last season.
"Anxiety is there, particularly on the road," Cheeks said.
"It's big for us."
Richardson and Murphy shot a combined 4-for-17 in the first
half, two days after both received six-year contract extensions
from the Warriors -- Richardson for $70 million and Murphy for $58
million. Richardson was held to 11 points.
The game's opening minutes were ugly for Golden State.
The team started 1-for-9 from the floor, Dunleavy shot an
airball, a jumper by Richardson clanged off the front of the rim
and Golden State committed three turnovers. The Warriors responded
with a 23-point second quarter to take a 39-37 halftime lead.
Murphy missed his first five free throws.
Blazers C Joel Przybilla will miss about 10 days with a
sore arch in his left foot. ... Portland has won 13 of the last 19
against Golden State in Oakland. ... The Warriors fell to 15-28 in
season openers since moving to the West Coast. ... The game drew
15,351. ... Notorious Warriors fan Mark Anthony Jones, a season
ticket holder the last nine seasons who is well known around the
NBA for his heckling, finally renewed his seats for a 10th year
last week. He had considered taking his money elsewhere when the
team missed the playoffs again. "I'll give it a shot and see what
happens," he said. "I'll give Mullin at least one year."
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