Curry's clutch shot pushes Warriors past Mavs
Last-second basket gives Golden State 95-93 win
he way the Golden State Warriors planned their final play Wednesday night, defensively challenged Dallas Mavericks big man Dirk Nowitzki would switch out on point guard Stephen Curry, giving the sharpshooter a good look at a potential game-winning shot.
When instead it was former All-NBA defender Shawn Marion who took the challenge, Curry didn't flinch. Fortunately for the Warriors, Marion did.
Curry got Marion to go for a pump-fake, then rose over the taller defender for a tiebreaking 17-footer with 1.5 seconds to play, capping a comeback that gave the Warriors a 95-93 victory over the Mavericks.
"He's an all-time great shooter," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of Curry, the NBA leader in fourth-quarter scoring average this season. "I've seen Stephen Curry hit that shot (at practice) hundreds of times, thousands of times. So when the curtain goes up, you expect it to go in."
In winning for the seventh time in nine home games this season, the Warriors set a high pick for Curry on their final possession after each team missed opportunities in the final minute to break a 93-93 tie. The point guard veered right to open space, creating the one-on-one duel with Marion that ended in Golden State's favor.
"It's just about getting a good look," the 6-foot-3 Curry said of his fake on Marion, who stands 6-7. "I was kind of able to lull him to sleep with the pump-fake and get a good look at it, and thankfully it went in."
The win allowed the Warriors (13-10) to move into a tie with the Mavericks (13-10) in the Western Conference standings. Dallas began the night in the No. 7 playoff position in the West, while Golden State, which lost seven of its previous 11 games, was on the outside looking in, sitting in the ninth spot.
The Warriors never led in the second and third quarters, but they managed to stay within 72-66 through three periods after trailing by 18 at one point.
Dallas retained a 92-86 advantage after a Monta Ellis driving layup with 1:26 to go, but the Warriors responded with seven points in a two-possession, 26.1-second flurry that gave them the lead.
Curry, who also found time for 10 assists, began the sequence with a 3-pointer on which he was fouled by Dallas point guard Jose Calderon. When Curry completed a four-point play by making the free throw, suddenly Golden State was down just 92-90 with still 1:16 left.
"That was a momentum-changer," said Warriors backup forward Draymond Green, who played a key role in the win with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and a steal. "The team always wants to go from six (points down) to three, let alone six to two. That changed the game for us."
As did a 3-pointer by Green on the Warriors' next possession, giving Golden State its first lead since the opening period, 93-92, with 49.9 seconds left.
"Draymond Green is a winner," Jackson said.
Ellis made one of two free throws three seconds later, creating a 93-93 tie and setting up the exciting finish.
Ellis, traded by Golden State in March 2012, had a chance to give the Mavericks a lead with 24.9 seconds left, but he misfired on a 13-footer. That put Curry, who topped 20 points for the eighth consecutive game, in a position to be the night's hero.
"Take the same shot no matter what," Ellis said of his potential game-winner. "We got everything we wanted. Shots just didn't go down."
Small forward Harrison Barnes backed Curry with 17 points for the Warriors, who began a 19-day stretch in which they play seven of nine at home. Power forward David Lee had a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double, and center Andrew Bogut contributed a game-high 18 rebounds along with six points.
Nowitzki and Ellis each had 21 points for the Mavericks, who completed a four-game trip 2-2 after winning the first two contests. Calderon added 18 points, and Marion had 12.
"The killer is the four-point play," Nowitzki said. "That's a tough swing there. Just went up six, and give the momentum back on a play like that."
NOTES: The Mavericks' biggest lead came at 52-34 with 2:19 remaining in the second quarter. ... The four-point play by Warriors PG Stephen Curry was his second of the season. ... Asked after the game if he could recall his last game-winning shot, Curry said, "High school. We blew everybody out at Davidson, so we didn't need game-winners." ... Mavericks SG Monta Ellis fell to 4-1 against his old mates since being traded from the Warriors to the Milwaukee Bucks on March 13, 2012. Golden State acquired C Andrew Bogut in that six-player deal. ... The Warriors were without starting SF Andre Iguodala (strained left hamstring) and backup C Jermaine O'Neal (sprained right wrist). Dallas was missing two key reserves who have yet to play this season -- SG Devan Harris (left foot surgery) and SF Brandan Wright (fractured left shoulder). The Mavericks expect Wright to make his season debut during their upcoming three-game homestand that tips off Saturday against Milwaukee. ... With two centers -- C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and C Ognjen Kuzmic (broken right hand) -- out of action, the Warriors signed C Hilton Armstrong out of the NBA Development League and immediately suited him up for Wednesday's game. Armstrong played seven scoreless minutes, grabbing three rebounds.