France: Pietrus Credits Baron For Turnaround

05 April 2005

France international guard Mickael Pietrus has heaped praise on new Golden State Warriors team-mate Baron Davis for revitalising his career.

Pietrus admits the arrival of Davis, who joined the Warriors from the New Orleans Hornets in February, has helped him rediscover his confidence and form, and both club and country look set to benefit from the former Pau-Orthez ace's new-found belief.

Since Davis and Pietrus teamed up in Oakland, the Warriors have won eight of their last 10 matches, while a pumped-up Pietrus will be a massive bonus to France at the 2005 European Championships in Serbia & Montenegro.

"I have finally re-found my game and the influence of Baron has been essential," Pietrus said in L'Equipe.

"It is such a great pleasure to play with him. He looks out for me, finds me and we win.

"The other thing is that we are not obsessed by losing anymore," added Pietrus, whose Warriors side are still bottom of the Pacific Conference standings despite their recent success.

"It's too late for this campaign but we feel we can achieve great things with this team.

"In the meantime we are there to prevent the other sides from making their ambitions come true."

Pietrus left Pau-Orthez, where he was twice crowned French champion, in 2003 but has had problems securing a first-team berth in the NBA.

In 111 matches, Pietrus has started only 25 times and averages less than nine points per game for this season.

However his stats have improved massively in recent weeks, scoring 17 or more points in five of his last eight games.

"I am a fighter and winning again really makes me happy," he said.

"The coaches have realised that I could play. I can score a lot in a short period of time and I spend more time on the pitch. I feel useful to the team.

"What is happening will allow me to remain fit for the French team."

France coach Claude Bergeaud will reveal his official 24-man squad to FIBA Europe by the end of April while the final 16 or 18-man squad to play in the 2005 Eurobasket will be announced on May 23.

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