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Curry, Lee, Thompson trio lead Warriors past Raptors

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors have a healthy Andrew Bogut and arguably the friendliest schedule in the NBA the rest of the season.

All of a sudden, that four-game losing streak and shaky playoff status are things of the past.

Bogut returned from a six-game absence to play a season-high 30 minutes and Klay Thompson triggered a comeback with eight points during a 10-0 burst to open the fourth quarter as the Warriors overcame the Toronto Raptors 125-118 in a matchup of teams that carried four-game losing streaks into Oracle Arena.

David Lee had a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double and Stephen Curry saved 15 of his 26 points for the decisive fourth quarter, but it was the presence of Bogut and long-range accuracy of Thompson that allowed Golden State to open a seven-game homestand on a positive note.

"We are very pleased to have him out on the floor," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of Bogut, who was playing just his 13th game of the season. "He's going to get better and better."

When his teammates returned from a weeklong road trip Sunday saddled with a losing streak, Bogut was hoping to join them on the court Wednesday against the Kings. But he responded well to workouts Sunday and at the Warriors' shootaround Monday afternoon, after which he received a green light to face the Raptors pending a no-mishap warmup.

Just rejoining the starting lineup was a huge relief for Bogut, who admitted he literally had to crawl to his car for a trip to the doctor's office Feb. 21 after waking up in the morning with some serious back pain.

"I thought I had done something worse. I thought I was in trouble," he said of his mind-set entering 12 days of rigorous, injection-free rehab on a protruding-disk issue in his back.

"I don't do injections," he insisted.

Bogut had two crowd-pleasing dunks during a four-point, eight-rebound, one-block performance that was otherwise uneventful except for the big number in minutes played. And the win, was more a product of Thompson's fourth-quarter burst than anything the big man did.

Actually, the Warriors were brilliant at both ends of the floor over the decisive final 12 minutes, which began with Toronto holding a 90-83 -- the result of a 36-point, third-quarter explosion.

The comeback began with offensive fireworks, most of which were provided by Thompson. He drilled two 3-pointers and a jumper, mixing in an assist on a David Lee hoop, as Golden State scored 10 points on its first four possessions of the fourth period to go up 93-92.

"I was really proud of the way we responded in the fourth quarter," Jackson boasted. "We needed to gut out a win. It looked ugly for a while. Give my guys credit."

Toronto took one last lead at 94-93 on an Amir Johnson follow shot, but then the Warriors tightened the defensive screws. The Raptors missed 17 of their next 18 shots, scoring only on free throws and a Rudy Gay steal and dunk, as Golden State went up by as many as nine on two occasions before holding on.

Thompson finished with 22 points, hitting eight of his 11 shots overall and four of his five 3s.

"This was a big win for us with the big homestand coming up," Thompson said of a team that closes the season with 16 of 22 at home. "There will be a lot of playoff implications coming up."

The win allowed the Warriors (34-27) to retain the No. 6 playoff position in the Western Conference.

Gay, who missed the Raptors' last game because of back spasms, and Andrea Bargnani paced the Raptors (23-38) with 26 points apiece. Johnson, scoring mostly off his 12 offensive rebounds, had 23 points on 10-for-10 shooting to complement his 15 boards, and Kyle Lowry came one assist from a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

"That team over there, they played their type of game," Lowry said of the Warriors, who had 33 assists on their 47 field goals in the up-tempo affair. "You need to know when to run and when not to run. We should have slowed it down a bit and gotten some easier shots."

In completing a season-series sweep of their Eastern Conference rival, the Warriors beat a club that looked a whole lot different than the one it handled 114-102 in Toronto on Jan. 28. The Raptors were without Bargnani (elbow) and Lowry (back) on that occasion, and were three days away from acquiring Gay from Memphis.

Bargnani and Gay made their presence felt all night, but especially in the third quarter, when they combined for 21 points as the Raptors outscored the Warriors 36-21 to put them in a position to win.

"Today offense wasn't the problem," said Bargnani, who scored a majority of his points on five 3s. "We tried to do what we can to slow them down. It just wasn't enough tonight."

Notes: Lowry was shooting for consecutive triple-doubles, having recorded one with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists Saturday in Toronto's overtime loss at Milwaukee. ... Johnson became the first player in the NBA this season to record a 20-point, 15-rebound game off the bench. ... Apparently putting on one of the best performances by a visiting player in Madison Square Garden history isn't sufficient to warrant NBA Player of the Week honors. The Nuggets' Ty Lawson earned the distinction, the NBA announced Monday, ahead of the Warriors' Curry, who poured in 54 points in New York on Wednesday during a four-game stretch in which he averaged 36.8 points per game, almost 16 per outing more than Lawson. So why Lawson? His Nuggets went 3-0 last week; the Warriors were 0-4. ... To add insult to injury, Curry's former backcourt mate, Bucks guard Monta Ellis, was honored as the Eastern Conference's best. ... The Warriors' Jackson insisted before the game he's not taking anything for granted despite the fact his team will spend a vast majority of the regular season's final six weeks at home. "If we play the way we have been playing, we won't beat teams at home," he said. "Just because Dorothy clicks her heels and winds up at home doesn't mean everything is going to be all right in this league."
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