ORACLE ARENA — Coming off a four-game road trip that featured more historic performances — one — than actual wins — zero — the Warriors ran past the Raptors Wednesday night, needing a fourth-quarter comeback to seal a 125-118 win in front of another sellout crowd.
David Lee led Golden State to victory with 29 points and 11 rebounds, his league-leading 22nd 20-point, 10-rebound game.
But Lee said the win was ugly and they would need to do better defensively to make the playoffs:
Warriors forward David Lee
“At this point a win is a win, but we know we have to play a lot better moving forward. …we played very well offensively, but I don’t think our offense has been our problem during the losing. It’s been our defense and our rebounding, and it was a problem once again tonight. …I’m not very happy about this win.”
Even with Lee and guard Stephen Curry leading the game in points — Curry with 26 points and 12 assists — the game was won in large part by a fourth quarter surge from Klay Thompson, who didn’t miss a shot in the last frame.
Thompson scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth before fouling out with 1:49 left in the game.
Thompson was happy with the win, but said it was a struggle to deal with being in foul trouble and watching from the bench:
“Two or three fouls are OK but six is inexcusable. It was frustrating sitting there, sitting out. All you can do is cheer on your teammates, stay focused and be ready.”
Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey praised his team for their third quarter rally, but said the tempo didn’t measure up when it came down to the wire:
“The beginning of the fourth was when the game changed. Then, again, we went back to the way we played in the first half defensively. Again, when you play up-tempo you’ve got to play on the other end…I didn’t think their perimeter guys felt us and I told the team at halftime.”
Curry helped fuel a 42-point fourth quarter, pouring in 15 of his 26 points including 6-of-6 from the line. He said that holding the Raptors to ten points in the first half of the quarter made the difference in getting this critical win:
Warriors guard Stephen Curry
“Starting the fourth quarter we kept them to like ten points in the first six minutes allowed us to get back the lead. We showed signs we can do it, we just have to stay consistent. We understand that’s what’s going to allow us to get out of this hole and get back to the basketball we were playing before February. I think we’ll be all right.”
After opening up an eight-point halftime lead, the Warriors would ominously trail 90-83 at the start of the fourth. The Warriors are 9-24 this season when trailing at the end of the third quarter.
To seize this win, the Warriors hardened their defense, allowing them to tie the game at 100 with 6:12 remaining and go on to the win.
The Dubs broke their four-game losing streak while handing Toronto its fifth-straight loss. The Warriors will play 15 of their last 21 games of the season at Oracle.
Golden State currently sits sixth place in the Western Conference, which would be fine if the playoffs started tomorrow.
But the seventh-place Houston Rockets are only one game behind the Warriors, and sliding into seventh is dangerous territory with teams like the Lakers pushing for a playoff berth having won seven of their last 10.
The Warriors are now in the home stretch of the season, and will spend the majority of it at Oracle where they are 19-7.
This seems like good news for Golden State, but before the game, head coach Mark Jackson warned that things aren’t always so cut and dry:
Pre-game audio: Warriors coach Mark Jackson
“If we play the way we have been playing, we won’t beat teams at home. We’ve go to respond, react and get better. We need to get back to where we were or we are going to have problems. Just because Dorothy clicks her heels and winds up at home doesn’t mean everything is going to be alright in this league.”
The Warriors dished out 33 assists of which 16 coming from their starting back court. It was the fifth time the Warriors have surpassed 30 assists in a game and they are 5-0 when doing so. … Six Warriors scored in double digits. … Golden State sold out its 17th consecutive home game and 19th this season, most since the Arena was renovated in 1997. … The Raptors are 0-9 when Andrea Bargnani (28 points, 7 rebounds) scores 20 or more points.