Stephen Curry erased a forgettable first half for the Golden State Warriors with a fourth quarter to remember.
Curry made a pull-up jumper with 3 seconds remaining to cap a sensational finishing stretch, rallying the Warriors from 18 points down to beat the Dallas Mavericks 95-93 on Wednesday night.
"He’s a great player and an all-time great shooter," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I’ve seen Steph Curry every single day take that shot hundreds and hundreds of times, thousands of times, so when the curtains open up you expect it to go in."
Curry scored 16 of his 33 points in the final period. He finished with 10 assists, four rebounds and another big shot in a young career already full of them.
With the clock winding down, Curry dribbled on the perimeter, came off a screen and faked a shot to send Shawn Marion jumping past him. Curry then hit the 19-footer to give Golden State, which trailed by 18 points late in the second quarter, the lead for good.
"I kind of lulled him to sleep with the pump fake and thankfully it went in," said Curry, who couldn’t recall making a game-winning shot since high school.
"We blew everybody out at Davidson, so we didn’t need game-winners," he joked about his college career.
Harrison Barnes scored 17 points, David Lee added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bogut grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds to help the Warriors overcome 18 turnovers and a sloppy start.
Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki each scored 21 points, and Jose Calderon had 18 for the Mavericks, who had no timeouts left and were forced to heave a desperation shot at the buzzer. Dallas finished 2-2 on its road trip because it couldn’t corral Curry when it mattered most.
"When they made shots and the crowd got into it, this is kind of a hostile environment," said Ellis, a former Warriors fan favorite who was traded to Milwaukee for Bogut two seasons ago.
Curry made consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 82 midway through the fourth quarter. Nowitzki scored the next four points before Curry’s pull-up jumper.
Ellis answered with a pair of key scores late, including a layup through traffic that gave the Mavericks a 92-86 lead. Curry came back with a four-point play, getting fouled by Calderon as he made a 3 and then hitting the free throw.
After another defensive stop, reserve Draymond Green made a 3-pointer with 49.9 seconds to play that put the Warriors up 93-92 — their first lead since the opening quarter.
Ellis made one of two free throws to tie the game. After Curry and Ellis each missed shots, Curry came off a screen and juked Marion to make the biggest play of the night.
"I thought we played Curry decently," Nowitzki said. "Marion was on him. Probably been our best perimeter defender for a long time and that’s a matchup we like. Curry just got him up in the air. It’s a tough play. Stepped under him and made a tough shot."
The Warriors played seven of their previous eight on the road, going 4-4 during that stretch. They opened a string of seven of the next nine at home, returning to Oracle Arena short-handed.
Andre Iguodala missed his 10th straight game with what the team has called a strained left hamstring. And backup center Jermaine O’Neal sat out with a right wrist injury.
Dallas started the game determined to end its road trip on a winning note.
Calderon, Ellis and Nowitzki directed Dallas to big leads throughout the first half. Nowitzki capped the spurt by making a pair of high-arching 3s to put the Mavericks ahead 52-34 late in the second quarter.
Curry pumped some life into the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 when he made a 3-pointer that twice bounced on the rim and the backboard before it dropped. The shot sliced Dallas’ lead to six, and the Mavericks closed the third quarter ahead just 72-66 despite controlling most of the game.
"We have to stop. We can’t continue to get behind like that and continue to try and come back and win," Green said. "But once again, our crowd helped us get back into the game."
NOTES: O’Neal is deciding whether to have surgery, which will likely end his season, or wait to see if his wrist heals enough for him to play. … Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said G Devin Harris, who is recovering from a foot injury, had some swelling in his left big toe after practicing during the road trip. Harris had hoped to return in mid-December but likely won’t play until after Christmas. … WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward was in attendance.