Warriors come back from 21 down to stun MagicBy ANTONIO GONZALEZ, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Mar 12, 2011
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob was in the locker room, smiling and shaking hands with players after watching a 3-point performance like nothing the NBA has ever seen.
Fans in the Bay Area only wish.
Ellis had 39 points and 11 assists, Dorell Wright(notes) scored 32 points and the Warriors came back from 21 points down to stun the Orlando Magic 123-120 in overtime Friday night in a wild game that set a new record for most combined 3-pointers made.
“That’s an NBA classic right there for sure,” said Wright, who was 8 for 11 from long range.
Stephen Curry(notes) added 22 points and 12 assists, and the Warriors set a franchise record for 3-pointers made to highlight a furious second-half push that toppled the Magic in thrilling fashion. Golden State finished 21 for 35 from beyond the arc.
Jason Richardson(notes) scored 30 points and Jameer Nelson(notes) had 24 points in another underwhelming performance for the Magic against an inferior opponent. Orlando was 15 for 32 from long range, making the 36 combined 3-pointers the most in league history.
The previous record was 32 set by Seattle at Phoenix on Jan. 22, 2006.
“If we can’t defend the 3-point line any better, we’ll get our (butts) kicked again,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
“I think we kind of looked at the scoreboard and figured we were going to be up by 20 and it was going to be a blowout game,” Richardson said. “We just didn’t finish the game hard in the first half, and in the second half they got a little confidence and went on a run.”
The Magic wasted another lead—the same way they did in Sacramento two nights earlier, except they came back to win that one—with a poor defensive effort after the break. And by the time they tried to pull away again, it was just too late.
The Warriors couldn’t miss. Neither team could, really.
Orlando went back ahead by five in the fourth quarter when Golden State started another rally. Wright and Curry each made a 3-pointer to give Golden State a 98-94 lead with 1:48 remaining.
The teams traded baskets until Ellis turned the ball over with an errant pass that landed in the hands of Nelson. Orlando rushed up court and a wide-open Hedo Turkoglu(notes) hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 8.3 seconds left to tie it.
With a final chance to win it in regulation, Dwight Howard(notes) deflected a pick-and-roll pass from Curry, and time expired in the scramble for the ball. The extra period only provided even more drama.
Ellis finished over Turkoglu with a dazzling layup, his back to the basket as he flicked it off the glass and in for a three-point play to help put Golden State ahead by four. The Magic answered over and over with big baskets of their own. Jason Richardson’s 3-pointer brought them back within a point.
Down by two in the final minute of overtime, Nelson stole the inbound pass and seemingly converted a layup for a three-point play—but Ellis forced a charging call, then made two free throws to put Golden State ahead by four.
The Magic had one last chance to send it to a second overtime, with Turkoglu and Richardson each missing 3-point attempts in the final seconds before the buzzer sounded, sending confetti falling from the rafters in one of the biggest wins of the season for Golden State.
It was a scene few could’ve imagined early on.
The Magic turned things into their own personal highlight show in the first half: Howard spun baseline for an alley-oop dunk from Jameer Nelson, Richardson had another, and a flurry of 3-pointers buried the Warriors in a 21-point hole by the second quarter.
All they did from there was blow it.
Golden State came out in the second half with a 27-12 run, going ahead 69-68 on Wright’s 3-pointer with 4:28 left in the third quarter. The offensive outpouring had Lacob—who had his father in attendance—out of his courtside seat, high-fiving fans and punching the air in an emphatic celebration.
“We’ll shock some people and win some big games like this,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “But it’s still a process to where we can grow this team to where we have a legitimate, contending team every year.”
Notes: Magic backup SG J.J. Redick(notes) missed the game after he pulled a muscle in his lower abdomen during the team’s morning workout. … Orlando has several ties to Golden State. Richardson and fellow G Gilbert Arenas(notes), and Magic president and general manager Otis Smith and player development pointman Adonal Foyle(notes) all once played for the Warriors. Smith also worked in Golden State’s management after his playing career. … A moment of silence was held before the game for victims of a powerful tsunami in Japan that was caused by an earthquake Friday.