Warriors 131, Hornets 121
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
The injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors haven't had the luxury of slowly bringing along their NBA Development League.
That's worked well for Reggie Williams, one of five D-League players called up by Golden State this season.
Williams scored 22 points, 18 in the fourth quarter, to help the Warriors overcome a 21-point deficit and beat the New Orleans Hornets 131-121 on Wednesday night.
``Coach (Don) Nelson wants us to push it and if there's an open shot just to take it,'' said Williams after the Warriors' biggest comeback in more than two years. ``You have jitterbugs coming into it but coach gives everybody the green light and you just go from there. He works the nervousness out of you and lets you play.''
Monta Ellis had 28 points and tied his career high with 13 assists while Anthony Tolliver, another D-League callup, had a career-high 30 points for the Warriors, who tied a team record with nine 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Williams, who last Friday signed his second 10-day contract with Golden State, had four of them, and Devean George added two to help the Warriors win for the second time in three games following a six-game losing streak.
``Sometimes things just turn around,'' said Nelson, who needs five more wins to pass Lenny Wilkens as the NBA victory leader. ``We got hot at the right time in the fourth quarter and it all ended up going our way.''
David West had 36 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for New Orleans, which lost for the eighth time in its last nine road games. The Hornets have lost 10 of 13 overall to drop eight games behind Portland for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
``They were unreal,'' said Morris Peterson, who had 17 points for New Orleans. ``Every time we looked up it seemed like they were taking the ball to the basket. We're up by 21 and they just got hot as a team.''
Golden State looked down and out for most of three quarters until staging its biggest comeback of the season.
Ellis sparked the rally with his second straight double-double while Tolliver and Williams combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter.
That was key for the Warriors, who played without third-leading scorer and Rookie of the Year candidate Stephen Curry. Curry sat out with a sprained left ankle, the first game he's missed this season, and was in a walking boot after the game.
It turns out Golden State didn't need him after falling behind 87-66 midway through the third quarter. The Warriors, who rallied from 18 points down to win three times this season, looked lost until that point.
``Just relentless,'' Tolliver said when asked to describe the comeback. ``When we're down and out, it seems like sometimes we play our best basketball. Sometimes that's what it takes to wake us up.''
It helped that the Hornets were again without leading scorer Chris Paul, who underwent left knee surgery on Feb. 4 and missed his 23rd straight game.
Paul is improving and could be back as early as Saturday against Utah, but coach John Bower said he's likely to keep Paul out until the team returns home Monday.
Paul's return comes at a critical time for the Hornets, who are on the verge of falling out of playoff contention.
``It was rather difficult for us to handle when they got on a roll,'' Bower said. ``They got on the move and stopped us from doing many of the things that got us out to the big lead.''
The Hornets led by as much as 21 after halftime and appeared headed for a blowout until the Warriors made their run beginning late in the third quarter.
Chris Hunter, who also started the season in the Development League, had seven points during a 22-9 burst to end the third, then Ellis scored five quick points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer that tied it at 98 with 10:11 left.
The Warriors later hit three 3-pointers, two straight by Reggie Williams, to take a 111-106 lead. Williams added two more 3-pointers and Ellis scored on a floating 7-foot jumper to make it 119-111.
Curry became the latest to go down, sitting out with a sprained left ankle. Curry, who led Golden State in scoring in four of its previous six games, participated in the pregame shootaround but was a late scratch, the first game he's missed this season. He's listed as day-to-day.
NOTES: The back-to-back double-doubles by Ellis are the first time he's achieved that in his NBA career. ... The Warriors set a franchise record with 11 3-pointers in the second half.