CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—Monta came up with big plays and then made a mistake that nearly cost the Golden State Warriors the win.
Ellis scored 25 points and the Warriors overcame his late blunder to hold off a rally in the final minute and beat the Charlotte Bobcats 96-95 on Friday.
“What can I say?” Ellis said. “We still won. It’s all that matters. Everything else is blanked out. We did a lot of great things and played well together. We just won it as a team and ground it out.”
Trailing 96-90, Charlotte made a run in the final minute, all keyed by Stephen Jackson(notes), who finished with 22 points. He hit a free throw to begin the run, Gerald Henderson(notes) tipped in Jackson’s miss, then Boris Diaw(notes) hit a layup off Jackson’s inside feed to pull the Bobcats within one point with 14.5 seconds remaining.
Then came the blunder—Ellis was called for an offensive foul after pushing off Henderson on an inbounds play with 8.5 seconds left, giving Charlotte another a chance.
But the Bobcats’ planned move—getting the ball to D.J. Augustin(notes)—didn’t materialize, forcing Jackson to put up a desperation 3-pointer, which clanged off the back of the rim and bounced out of bounds as the horn sounded.
“(Augustin) was supposed to get the ball,” a despondent Jackson said after the game. “We were going to make a quick pick and let him try to make a play.”
Stephen Curry(notes), who earned AP All-America honors while playing at nearby Davidson, hit four 3-pointers and scored 24 points in his homecoming, while Dorell Wright(notes) added 17 for Golden State, which won for the fourth time in its last five games.
“Our guys did an excellent job of keeping their composure to play the quarter out,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “On the road, things can happen crazy. But we managed to keep it together and get a win.”
Gerald Wallace(notes) added 20 points, D.J. Augustin 12, and Diaw and Henderson added 10 points each for the Bobcats, which trailed by as many as 11 points midway through the third quarter and fell short of getting a third consecutive win under interim coach Paul Silas.
Ellis didn’t shoot particularly well against Charlotte—11 of 23 from the field, and just 2 of 5 on 3-pointers—but he came up with the points when the Warriors needed them.
His layup with 7:48 left in the third quarter gave Golden State a 64-53 lead, its biggest of the second half. After the Bobcats whittled down a seven-point lead down to 91-90 with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter, Ellis dropped in a pair of layups during a five-point surge to give the Warriors a six-point cushion with 1:20 remaining.
Silas, who replaced Larry Brown on Dec. 22, had won his first two games— 105-100 over Detroit on Monday, and 101-92 over Cleveland on Wednesday. But getting that third win proved to be a challenge, as Golden State hit its first seven shots and raced to an 11-point lead early in the first quarter.
“We couldn’t play behind against this team because they get off to fast starts,” Smart said. “I needed a quick start for our team to get them chasing us and let them play from behind. We really got off to a great lead and we played the way we needed to.”
The Bobcats clawed their way back into contention, leading twice—the last time at 36-32 on Henderson’s short jumper with 6:49 left in the second quarter— and tying the score four times. Curry then stifled any further Charlotte rallies in the first half, scoring eight of his 11 second-quarter points in a four-minute span.
His 3-pointer put Golden State up 45-40 with 4 minutes left, another 3 less than a minute later pushed the margin to 48-44, and a fastbreak layup with 36 seconds remaining gave the Warriors a 52-46 lead at the break.
NOTES: Friday’s game was the first time that Charlotte assistant coach Stephen Silas—son of the Bobcats’ interim coach—faced his former team. The younger Silas had been a Warriors assistant for more than four seasons until joining his father’s staff earlier this week. … Among those attending Friday’s game was Bob McKillop, Curry’s head coach at Davidson, and the entire Wildcats roster. Curry and Warriors teammate Reggie Williams(notes) watched Davidson play St. John’s (Maine) the day before, and McKillop returned the favor Friday. … Jackson and Ellis exchanged a big hug at midcourt before tipoff. The two were teammates with the Warriors before Jackson was traded to the Bobcats in 2009. … Charlotte C DeSagana Diop(notes) came out of the game midway through the second quarter with a straight right Achilles’ tendon. His status for the Bobcats’ home game against Miami on Jan. 3 was unknown. … Bobcats F Tyrus Thomas(notes) missed his second straight game with sprained right wrist, and Silas said that his return to the lineup is “day to day.”