Balanced attack leads Golden State to second straight victory, 106-100 over Toronto

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TORONTO (AP)—With Stephen Jackson back from suspension, the NBA’s highest-scoring team has another valuable option.

Jackson scored 17 points, Andris Biedrins had 15 points and 14 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the Toronto Raptors 106-100 on Sunday.

“It was fun being back with my team, not only getting a win but being back with my family,” Jackson said. “It feels real good.”

Baron Davis had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to help Golden State win its second straight after opening the season with six consecutive losses.

Kelenna Azubuike scored 16 points, and Al Harrington added 10 for Golden State, which saw all five starters reach double figures scoring.

Despite the early struggles, the Warriors entered play Sunday leading the NBA in points per game.

Jackson began the season by serving a seven-game suspension, the result of his guilty plea to a felony charge of criminal recklessness for firing a gun outside an Indianapolis strip club in October 2006.

“Sitting at home watching the team start off 0-6 was hard,” Jackson said. “I couldn’t really criticize or critique anybody because I wasn’t there so I just had to try to learn from watching from the sidelines and try to stay in shape as best as I could.”

With Jackson back, Warriors coach Don Nelson has another option besides Davis to spark his high-energy offense.

“It’s good to have Stephen Jackson back in our lineup,” Nelson said. “We sure missed him. He played over 40 minutes but I guess he’s well rested.”

Davis also appreciates Jackson’s help.

“We have confidence in him running the offense and me finishing on the back end,” Davis said. Now I can be off the ball and I can finish plays instead of starting and finishing.”

Forward Austin Croshere said the 6-foot-8 Jackson presents matchup problems for most opponents.

“We don’t have a whole lot of guys on the team who can post up like he can, draw a double-team as well as create off the dribble,” Croshere said. “You have to be very aware of Jack wherever he is on the floor. He makes things a little bit easier for guys on the perimeter or cutting to the basket.”

Nelson expects Golden State’s offense to be even more potent once forward Matt Barnes recovers from a dislocated finger and second-year guard Monta Ellis improves his passing.

“It makes it so much easier for me as a coach,” Nelson said. “It gives me more ways to initiate the offense, more guys who can be in a scoring position.”

T.J. Ford scored 29 points for the Raptors (5-5), who have won just twice in six tries at home this season. Ford added eight assists and six rebounds.

“He’s a handful,” Nelson said of Ford. “He’s as close to (Steve) Nash as anyone I’ve seen.”

Andrea Bargnani scored 12 points and Chris Bosh had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto.

Golden State trailed 88-80 after three quarters, but opened the fourth with an 11-3 run that tied it at 91 with 6:39 remaining.

“We made a spurt at the right time and they didn’t,” Nelson said.

Croshere’s 3-pointer with 3:51 left to play gave the Warriors their first lead since the second quarter, 96-94, an advantage Golden State did not relinquish.

Toronto scored only 12 points in the final quarter, making just four of 22 shots.

“They out-hustled us, made shots and we didn’t,” Ford said.

Davis said the Warriors are starting to finish stronger.

“We haven’t been able to close out fourth quarters but these last two games have been phenomenal,” Davis said. “We’ve been playing phenomenal defense in the fourth quarter and we need to continue to do that.”

Leading 32-29 after the first, Golden State connected on their first eight shots of the second to open a 48-41 lead with 5:42 left in the half. Toronto called timeout, then reeled off an 8-0 run, capped by a one-handed dunk from Jamario Moon to take their first lead of the game with 3:13 left.

Toronto led 61-58 at the half.

Ford scored a season-high 13 in the first quarter.

Notes

Raptors C Rasho Nesterovic will miss up to two weeks with a sprained right ankle. Nesterovic was injured in last Wednesday’s home loss to Utah. … Actress Jessica Alba attended the game.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Golden State
A. Biedrins A. Biedrins
6-9,  15 Pts
14 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Toronto
T.J. Ford T.J. Ford
12-22,  29 Pts
6 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Sunday, Nov 18