Hornets pound Golden State
By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
March 14, 2004
NEW ORLEANS It was hardly competitive for the majority of three of the four quarters played, but had it not been for the efforts of former Lawrence County and Mississippi State star Erick Dampier, Saturday night's 102-84 pounding the New Orleans Hornets gave the visiting Golden State Warriors would have been even more of a snoozer than it already was.
Dampier finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes. He declined to speak with reporters before the game, instead opting to concentrate intently on his pre-game preparations at the shoot around. But afterward, Dampier reflected on a variety of subjects, most notably, the interest he generated from a number of teams around this season's trade deadline last month.
"I went out last summer and worked hard to improve my game to try and make this team better in some kind of way. I guess it's paying off a little," Dampier said. "Of course, there were a lot of rumors being thrown around (in February) but nothing happened, so we'll see what happens over the summer.
That's when he can exercise his option year with Golden State (25-40) and enter the free agent market. "I'm going to weigh every option and make the best decision for me."
Dampier, who led the Bulldogs to their last Final Four appearance in 1996, has career averages of 8.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game coming into this season, a season in which he is putting up his best numbers to date. In this, his eighth campaign, he is averaging 12 points and 11.6 boards per outing. He also has collected 36 double-doubles this year.
The opposing coach certainly took notice.
"He's really having a great year and it's all keyed by his rebounding, persistence on the boards and him becoming a better low post scorer. He's coming into his own," Hornets coach Tim Floyd said.
But Dampier wasn't satisfied with the end result against New Orleans.
"It was very nice to get back close to home and be able to see my parents and them see me play," he said. "I wish we could have won, but if we played the whole game the way we played in some stretches of the second half it might have turned out differently."
As his NBA career has progressed, his philanthropic efforts toward his home state have increased. Last summer as part of the kickoff of his own foundation to assist underprivileged children, he held a sports memorabilia action to help the families of the tragic Lockheed Martin shootings in Meridian.
"That was something I felt I needed to do," he said. "It was a hard time for those people and I wanted to help out and show that there are people out there that care whenever something tragic like that happens."
Stacey Soars: Hornet forward Stacey Augmon started in place of the injured Jamal Mashburn and logged a season-high 21 points. Baron Davis turned in a game-high 24 to go with 11 assists. He was two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
What's Next: New Orleans (35-31) goes to Miami Tuesday before returning home to face Philadelphia on Wednesday.