Golden State at Charlotte

Crawford erupts for 50 points to ignite Warriors

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Maybe a defensive coordinator will work in basketball. But it sure helps when you've got a guy hitting almost every shot at the other end.

Behind 50 points from Jamal Crawford, the Golden State Warriors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 110-103 on Saturday night, giving Warriors coach Don Nelson a win in his first game with a new coaching structure.

Yielding control of his NBA-worst defense to assistant Keith Smart and calling him the "defensive coordinator," the Warriors did just enough at that end and let Crawford dominate on offense in his best game since being acquired from New York last month.

"He's an amazing scorer when he heats up," Nelson said.

Crawford was 14-of-26 from the field, 5-of-8 from 3-point range and made 17 of 18 free throws. He was two points shy of his career high, and became the first Warrior to reach 50 points since Antawn Jamison did it in consecutive games in the 2000-01 season.

Crawford continually beat Raja Bell and Raymond Felton off the dribble for layups or fouls, bringing the type of explosive offense the Warriors envisioned when they sent Al Harrington to the Knicks to get him.

"I feel like I can pretty much get any shot I want," Crawford said. "I let people off the hook by settling for jump shots."

Golden State played again without top scorers Corey Maggette (hamstring) and Stephen Jackson (hand), who is not expected to return until Friday, making Crawford the go-to guy.

Kelenna Azubuike added 21 points and the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak with Nelson and Smart co-coaching the team.

Gerald Wallace scored 26 points,and Raja Bell added 21 for the Bobcats, who failed to win three in a row for the first time this season and couldn't contain Crawford.

"Basically you've got a guy out there with his confidence as high as the sky and he's only playing one end," Wallace said of Crawford. "He's only playing offense, so what can you say?"

Maybe Nelson's new strategy has a ways to go to be successful.

Nelson said he decided Friday afternoon to turn over the defense to Smart, explaining after Friday's loss to Atlanta that he's not tough enough and that "I'm getting soft as I get older."

The 68-year-old Nelson didn't inform the players of the move until before Saturday's game, which the Warriors entered allowing 112.2 points per game.

Smart got out of his seat and shouting instructions when Charlotte had the ball. They each had chairs in the huddle during timeouts, and several times Smart spoke before Nelson.

"I think that's an honor and a credit to Nellie," Crawford said. "I think him being a Hall of Fame guy and identifying that as one of his weaknesses and doing something about it, it's a credit to Coach Nel."

The defense faltered early in the fourth quarter, as the Bobcats cut a 12-point deficit to 95-88 on Felton's 3-pointer with 4:53 left. Crawford responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession, then later added two free throws and a mid-range jumper.

It was quite a turnaround from a night earlier, when Crawford scored six points on 3-of-15 shooting.

"I was just out of it yesterday," Crawford said. "I got mad (at myself) yesterday and I played horribly because of it."

The Bobcats, who shot a franchise-best 66 percent in a blowout win Friday at Memphis, were mad they couldn't build off their best performance of the season.

Boris Diaw got into foul trouble and was held to 11 points. Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 13 rebounds, but air-balled a free throw with his team down by five with 28.3 seconds left.

"When you're not a great team, you've got to be ready to play every night," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said.

Crawford made up for subpar games from some of his teammates. A night after scoring a career-high 19 points, Brandan Wright got the start, committed three fouls in five minutes, and didn't score. Rookie Anthony Randolph, after not getting off the bench against the Hawks, scored two points in seven minutes.

It didn't matter with Crawford schooling whomever guarded him. His offbalance 3 over Felton put Golden State ahead 84-72 late in the third quarter.

Notes

  • Warriors G Anthony Morrow, who last month set a record for the most points (37) scored by an undrafted rookie, handed out more than 50 tickets to friends and family in his return to his hometown. "I get to come back home. It's just a blessing," Morrow said.
  • Former Hornets and Cavaliers coach Paul Silas attended the game. His son, Stephen, is a Warriors assistant.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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'He's an amazing scorer when he heats up,' Don Nelson says about Jamal Crawford.  (AP)
'He's an amazing scorer when he heats up,' Don Nelson says about Jamal Crawford. (AP)

Scoreboard
Golden State (8-20) «27293123110
Charlotte (9-19) 29272324103
GS:J. Crawford 50 Pts
GS:K. Azubuike 13 Reb
GS:J. Crawford 5 Ast
CHA:G. Wallace 26 Pts
CHA:E. Okafor 13 Reb
CHA:R. Felton 8 Ast
Players of the Game
CharlotteGolden State

G. Wallace

J. Crawford
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
26425025
Golden State
J. Crawford, SG4614-2617-1825250
K. Azubuike, SF427-184-5130221
A. Biedrins, C345-71-493611
M. Belinelli, SG345-101-114313
B. Wright, SF80-30-03030
C. Watson, PG251-33-43105
R. Turiaf, PF242-50-06534
R. Kurz, SF101-22-23034
A. Morrow, SG80-00-00000
A. Randolph, SF70-32-23012
D. Nelson, SG10-00-00000
C. Maggette, SFDid Not Play
S. Jackson, SGDid Not Play
M. Ellis, SGDid Not Play
M. Williams, PGDid Not Play
Totals 35-7730-36431823110
 45.5%83.3% 
Charlotte
R. Felton, PG456-190-128414
G. Wallace, SF398-159-1142426
R. Bell, SG387-122-263221
E. Okafor, C346-130-3131412
B. Diaw, SF295-90-0106511
D. Augustin, PG202-40-00336
R. Hollins, C131-25-62017
J. Howard, PF81-20-02102
A. Morrison, SF70-20-00220
M. Carroll, SG62-30-00014
N. Mohammed, CDid Not Play
S. May, PFDid Not Play
S. Brown, PGDid Not Play
A. Ajinca, CDid Not Play
S. Singletary, PGDid Not Play
Totals 38-8116-23392627103
 46.9%69.6% 
Other Games
LAL 103 Final
Orl 106
Ind 95 Final
Phi 94
Sac 90 Final
NO 99
Hou 109 Final
Min 102
Mia 106 Final
NJ 103
Utah 98 Final
Chi 106
LAC 85 Final
Mil 119
Tor 97 Final
SA 107
Den 101 Final
Pho 108