Warriors 103, Hornets 96By Dave Del Grande, Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Dec 19, 2012 1:30 AM EST
OAKLAND -- Nine free throws accounted for all but two of the points in an 11-4 game-finishing run that allowed the Golden State Warriors to escape with a 103-96 home win Tuesday night over the New Orleans Hornets. Three disputed calls, all of which went against the Hornets, contributed to the one-sided finish as the Warriors rallied after blowing a 10-point lead they'd taken into the final quarter. After Hornets rookie Anthony Davis converted a Greivis Vasquez assist into a three-point play that tied the game at 92 with 4:07 to go, New Orleans was held to two field goals the rest of the way en route to its eighth consecutive loss. The Warriors countered with just one basket in that stretch -- a 16-footer by Stephen Curry -- but did more than enough damage at the line, getting 6-for-6 accuracy from Jarrett Jack among its 9-for-10 finish. Golden State (17-8) caught its first big break after Jack's first two free throws in the last run put the home team back on top 94-92 with 3:25 to go. The Hornets (5-19) appeared to have tied the game on another Vasquez dish to Davis under the basket for a dunk, but the New Orleans point guard was deemed to have traveled before making the pass. He vehemently disagreed with the call. Seconds later, Curry buried his jumper for a 96-92 lead at the 2:18 mark. After Jack turned a Warriors offensive rebound into another pair of free throws to produce a six-point cushion with 1:24 to go, Vasquez dropped in what turned out to be the game's final hoop with a drive down the right side of the key with 1:19 left. The Warriors were able to ice the game from the line, getting the benefit of two calls that could have been ruled offensive fouls on David Lee and Jack. Instead, they went to the line for two free throws apiece, with Lee making one and Jack two for a 101-94 lead with 31.3 seconds to play. Lee finished with 26 points, hitting 10 of his 16 shots from the field. Golden State's Klay Thompson added 19 points despite 5-for-15 shooting, and Jack had 16 points and 10 assists. Reserve forward Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 28 points, almost half of which came on 4-for-14 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. Vasquez (20 points, 11 assists) and Davis (15 points, 16 rebounds) recorded double-doubles in the loss. The game took on an offensive tone from the get-go, with the visiting Hornets more than willing to try to match the Warriors' firepower from long range. New Orleans buried six 3-pointers -- half by Vasquez -- in the first half to account for more than one-third of its points, but it had no answer for Golden State's superior inside game. Lee hung around the hoop for 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting before the break. He also had seven rebounds, two of which came at the offensive end and resulted in half his four first-half misses. Lee finished with just nine rebounds. NOTES: The game was the Warriors' first at home since Dec. 3. They followed that 102-94 loss to Orlando with a 6-1 record on an 11-day trek through the Eastern time zone. The only loss on the trip was also to the Magic. ... The Warriors took the Oracle Arena court Tuesday having played only nine home games, the second fewest in the league to Denver's seven. They'd played 15 road games, matching two others for the third most in the league. ... Hornets coach Monty Williams, whose team entered Tuesday's game with a 2-8 road mark, had a hard time fathoming Golden State's 6-1 trip, labeling it "maybe the best road trip of any team in the league this season." ... Lee, who averaged 22.8 points and 12.5 rebounds over the final four games of the trip last week, was honored as the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week. Lee had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in all seven games of the trip, becoming the first player to record that distinction on a trip of seven or more games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accomplished the feat on a nine-game trip in 1972. ... Asked how he had hoped his team would keep the road success in perspective, Warriors coach Mark Jackson noted, "You take it. You enjoy it. But you understand you can't fall in love with it. I have a group of guys who understand the mission. We've done nothing." ... Coming off a one-point loss at Portland on Sunday, the Hornets' Williams made two lineup changes Tuesday, promoting Davis and small forward Lance Thomas from the bench to replace Anderson and Al-Farouq Aminu. "It's where he's going to be," Williams said of moving Davis, the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft, back into the starting five for the first time since he returned from an ankle injury Dec. 11. ... Assessing the team's overall record and losing streak, Williams admitted, "I gotta coach better. It's not always players. The guys are trying."
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