OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—At least the Golden State Warriors won’t have to worry about playing down to the competition if they do make the playoffs.
Baron Davis scored all of his 19 points in the second half Saturday night, including a key jumper in the final minutes that helped the Warriors survive for their eighth win in 10 games, a 110-107 victory over the hapless Memphis Grizzlies.
“We were very vulnerable, but we came away with a win and that’s the main thing,” coach Don Nelson said. “There are no bad teams in the NBA. There isn’t anybody we can’t beat and there isn’t anybody that can’t beat us on any given night. We didn’t look much like an eighth-place team tonight, but we remain there. We’re going to have to play a lot better than we played tonight and I know we will.”
Golden State spent much of the game playing down to the level of the Grizzlies, who have lost 17 straight road games and 19 of 21 overall. But the Warriors were able to avoid a bad home loss like the one they had in January to Minnesota, which snapped its own 16-game road losing streak here at Oracle Arena.
Golden State also lost at home last month to Chicago and Atlanta, but has played well all season against most of the league’s top teams.
“This would have probably been the worst loss out of all of them but we didn’t lose,” forward Al Harrington said.
The game could charitably be called sloppy, with both teams guilty of errant passes, poor shots and play even stopping once for an inadvertent whistle by a referee.
Golden State committed 20 turnovers for the first time since Dec. 31 against Houston, including one by Davis in the final minutes that helped Memphis cut the deficit to one point.
“We were sloppy tonight for some reason,” Davis said. “I don’t know why. We were careless with our passes. We have to clean that up, especially with the games we have coming up, which are very important with where we are in the playoff race.”
Davis rebounded after missing his first eight shots and jamming his right pinkie in the first quarter to come up with the key plays down the stretch that helped Golden State move two games ahead of idle Denver in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
None was bigger than the 19-foot jumper Davis hit with 1:40 remaining after Memphis had cut Golden State’s lead to one point.
“It affected his play,” Nelson said of the finger injury. “I don’t know how else to say it. He just had to fire up in the fourth quarter and start playing or we weren’t going to win the game and we did.”
Stephen Jackson led the way with 21 points and Monta Ellis added 17 for the Warriors, who beat the Grizzlies for the sixth straight time. Matt Barnes scored 11 points off the bench, reaching double figures for the first time since Feb. 13.
“The road’s tough but you’ve still got to find ways to win games on the road,” said Mike Miller, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds. “Teams go out and find ways to win on the road. We’ve got to do the same thing. We’re a young team, we’ve got to understand it’s going to take a little more on the road but we’ll figure it out.”
Memphis cut the lead to four midway through the fourth quarter on Brian Cardinal’s 3-pointer and could have gotten even closer, but Navarro missed a 3-pointer. Davis came back at the other end and hit a hanging jumper in the lane to make it 96-90, then fed Andris Biedrins for a layup to build the lead back up to eight.
But Memphis wouldn’t go quietly after losing its previous three games by more than 20 points. The Grizzlies cut the lead to 102-99 on Navarro’s 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining. After a turnover and foul by Davis, Navarro hit a pair of free throws to make it 102-101.
But then Davis hit his jumper and Gay missed at the other end for Memphis. A layup by Biedrins made it a five-point game and Golden State held on from there.
The Grizzlies have not defeated a team with a winning record since an 88-85 victory over San Antonio on March 19. … Ellis made just his second 3-pointer since Dec. 22 in the first quarter. … Golden State has not lost consecutive games since Jan. 2-4, against Dallas and New Orleans. … Memphis C Darko Milicic (sore right foot) and Warriors F Austin Croshere (sore right groin) sat out.