The Golden State Warriors won the opener of a four-game trip thanks to an unlikely source.
They'll try to build on their first victory in a week Wednesday night against a Dallas Mavericks team looking to bounce back from its first home loss.
With Andrew Bogut serving a suspension Tuesday against New Orleans, Jermaine O'Neal got his first start with Golden State (9-6). Although he had missed the previous four games with right knee and groin injuries, O'Neal turned in a vintage performance.
O'Neal, who came in averaging 5.2 points, scored 18 on 9-of-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds and made a clutch hook shot with 2:06 left in a 102-101 victory, snapping Golden State's losing streak at three.
''I had a rough six or seven days, hadn't been able to practice, had a viral infection, the groin injury, the knee injury, and I just felt like sometimes when your back is against the wall you just go out there and have fun, enjoy it,'' he said.
Despite the impressive showing, O'Neal might not get much of a chance for an encore performance. Bogut will likely be back in the starting lineup and after playing a season-high 26 minutes Tuesday, the 18-year veteran O'Neal will probably need extra rest in this second game of a back-to-back.
The Warriors have been outscored by an average of 13.7 points in going 0-3 on the second game of back-to-backs, giving up 115.7 per game in those losses.
Klay Thompson led all scorers Tuesday with 22 points and matched a career high with eight assists, while Stephen Curry had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. However, Curry again struggled with his accuracy, missing 13 of 20 shots. He is shooting 37.8 percent in his last five games.
Harrison Barnes has had no such shooting problems, averaging 16.0 points on 52.5 percent shooting - including 9 of 12 from 3-point range - in his last five. He averaged 14.7 points against Dallas as a rookie last season, his best showing against any Western Conference opponent.
The Mavericks (9-6) will take the court against someone other than Denver after being swept in a home-and-home set with the Nuggets.
A poor first quarter doomed Dallas in a 102-100 loss in Denver on Saturday, and the Mavericks ran out of steam in the second half of a 110-96 setback two nights later. The Mavericks, who had won six of seven prior to facing the Nuggets, also received little help from their bench in Monday's rematch. The reserves shot a season-worst 29.6 percent (8 of 27) and finished with 21 points - 10.1 less than their season average.
''We didn't have much competitive energy, and the guys on the bench are the guys that have got to give it to us,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ''This is a coaching loss. I didn't have these guys ready to play.''
The loss could also be pinned on Dallas shooting a season-worst 5 of 19 (26.3 percent) from beyond the arc. The Mavericks had averaged 111.4 points while shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range in opening the season with seven consecutive home wins.
Dallas could have better luck against Golden State, which has allowed its last six opponents to shoot 44.4 percent from distance.
Dirk Nowitzki is connecting on 40.7 percent of his 3s while starting point guard Jose Calderon is shooting 46.9 percent from outside the arc.
Former Warrior Monta Ellis has found his touch, averaging 26.8 points on 55.0 percent shooting in his last five games after averaging 19.0 points on 44.6 in his previous four. He averaged 23.0 points in two games against the Warriors last season with Milwaukee.
Golden State took two of three from Dallas in 2012-13.
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