After blowing fourth-quarter leads and losing their previous two games, John Starks challenged his Warriors teammates to play with more heart and intensity. They must have been listening.
Starks had 20 points and Erick Dampier had a season-high 19 points and 13 rebounds as Golden State built a big lead and protected it in the fourth period for a 90-78 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night.
"It was nice to hold a lead tonight. That's the way we've got to play," Starks said. "If we play with passion, especially in those last 12 minutes, we can play with anyone."
Jason Caffey added 14 points and nine rebounds as the Warriors broke a four-game losing streak and snapped Seattle's three-game winning streak.
"There was no magic to the fourth quarter, there was magic in five or six guys playing well," Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We had a lot of guys who played well tonight."
Detlef Schrempf had 21 points and Gary Payton had 18 for the Sonics, who shot 34 percent and got little offense from starters other than Payton. Vin Baker was 2-of-11 from the field, Dale Ellis missed all eight of his shots, Olden Polynice had three points and Hersey Hawkins had seven.
"They played hard and were aggressive. They made shots and we didn't, and that was the ballgame," Ellis said. "We don't like games like this, but it happens."
The Warriors raced to a 16-3 lead in the opening 6:21 of the game and built their lead to 26-9 on a layup by Antawn Jamison with 2:04 left in the first period.
Golden State's margin grew to 19 points midway through the second quarter and the Warriors led 51-40 at halftime. Jamison had 11 points in the first half to lead Golden State, while Schrempf had 12 for Seattle.
The Warriors rebuilt their lead to 67-49 with 3:46 left in the third period when Damper followed his own miss, and led 67-54 starting the fourth quarter.
Golden State had blown fourth-quarter leads this week in home losses to Sacramento and San Antonio, but this time never let the Sonics back into the game. Seattle pulled within 11 points at 74-63 on a 3-pointer by Schrempf with 7:57 remaining, but could get no closer.
When the Sonics pulled within 81-69 with three minutes left, Starks hit a 3-pointer and the Warriors kept a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
"They played a solid game. They won it in the first quarter," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "They were more aggressive than we were. There was no reason not to match their aggressiveness, and we didn't."
Notes: Chris Mills missed the game for Golden State with a sprained right ankle. Jamison returned after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. ... The Sonics missed 18 of their first 23 shots in the game. ... The Sonics lost for just the second time in their last 16 games against the Warriors. They had won nine of their previous 10 games at Golden State.
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