|Baron Davis didn't get the foul call he was seeking against Utah Wednesday, but the Warriors hope for home cooking tonight. (HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES)|
No place like home
Warriors look for fans' energy boost
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Baron Davis and the Golden State Warriors have learned there's a big downside to having pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in NBA playoff history in the first round.
There are still three rounds to go -- and they all require even more energy and mental toughness than the Warriors have mustered so far against the Utah Jazz.
"The emotions are crazy after you do something big like that," Davis acknowledged yesterday after the Warriors returned home from their first back-to-back losses since March in their opening games against the Jazz, who visit Oakland for Game 3 tonight.
"You don't try to have a letdown, but we're a young team that gets a lot out of the emotion we felt in the first round," Davis said. "Now we're trying to go back to work, and we're getting it . . . We need some energy and momentum, and hopefully coming home will bring that."
The Warriors are back to reality after their improbable triumph over the Dallas Mavericks, and reality wasn't pleasant for much of their up-and-down season.
Golden State's flaws -- questionable depth, poor team-wide shot selection, awful low-post defense, and spotty late-game execution -- were exposed by the Jazz, who coolly overcame their own problems after blowing double-digit fourth-quarter leads in both games.
The biggest factor in the next two games could be the change in buildings. The Warriors are out of the Utah arena where fans shouted all manner of profane, foul invective at Golden State's Stephen Jackson -- and even pulled on Davis's jersey after he hit a 3-pointer near the sideline late in the Warriors' overtime loss in Game 2, according to the guard.
"We're confident now because we're back in our building, and we're a totally different team there," said Al Harrington, who scored 38 points in the Warriors' first two games in Utah after managing just 27 in six games against Dallas. "That's what we're hanging our hat on. We get confident when our fans are behind us, and it just flows from that."
The hoops-crazy Bay Area is ready for the Warriors' return, from the banners and signs decorating downtown Oakland to the basketball buzz that's in the air. Game 3 is sold out with another bunch of the same raucous fans that intimidated the Mavericks .
The Warriors have thrived on emotion for two months -- ever since Davis returned from injury and led Golden State's fantastic finish to the regular season. But coach Don Nelson knows emotion sometimes doesn't help late in games, when precision and execution would be more useful.