NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jarrett Jack denied having any extra incentive in his return to New Orleans, though he sure played down the stretch like he did.
Traded from the Hornets to the Warriors last July to clear cap space, he tied a career high with 12 assists and scored seven of his 25 points in the final minute. Klay Thompson added a season-high 29 points, and Golden State beat New Orleans 116-112 on Saturday night.
“People tend to say that you play with a chip on our shoulder when you play against your old team,” Jack said. “I play with a chip on my shoulder all the time. Nothing has ever been given to me in this league. Every night I try to go out and prove myself no matter if I am playing against the Hornets, the Lakers or the Bobcats.”
Then again, he did notice one difference.
“When I was on the way here my Ipod played, even though I had it on a shuffle, a James Brown song, `The Big Payback,'” he said. “That was kind of weird.”
The Warriors trailed 110-108 in a topsy-turvy game when Jack hit two free throws with 52 seconds left to tie the score. He converted a tough floater in the lane to give Golden State a 112-110 lead, and he finished off the Hornets with three free throws.
New Orleans struggled on its final possessions. Eric Gordon missed an open shot that would have broken a 110-all tie. Jason Smith was called for an illegal screen when they trailed 112-110. Greivis Vasquez, Jack’s replacement as the starting point guard, missed a 3-point shot that would have tied the score at 113.
Jack averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 6.3 assists for rebuilding New Orleans last season, but the Hornets took Duke’s Austin Rivers in the first round of the NBA draft. Soon after, they traded Jack in a three-way deal.
Coming off the bench for the Warriors, he averaged 12.1 points and 5.2 assists and more than doubled both totals on Saturday night.
“He was special,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He was awfully good. Obviously there was something extra coming back and playing against former teammates. He made big plays for us.”
Thompson scored 24 points in the first half as the Warriors led by as much as 16. Stephen Curry, returning after missing two games with a right ankle sprain, had 17 of his 20 points in the second half.
Gordon scored 23 points for the Hornets, who lost despite shooting a season-high 57 percent. Rookie Anthony Davis added 20 points and 12 rebounds, but he missed five of seven free throws, including two pivotal ones in the final two minutes. Vasquez added 15 assists.
“Put that on me,” Davis said. “I should not be missing free throws like that. With that, we’re not going to win.”
The Warriors, who had lost five of six after a 22-10 start, won despite the absence of center David Lee, who missed his first game of the season after spraining his left ankle on Friday against San Antonio. The Hornets lost for only the second time in eight games after a 7-25 start.
It was the most points they have scored in a loss in coach Monty Williams’ three-year tenure.
“We lost our identity tonight,” Williams said. “We gave up 116 points to a team that is undermanned. We didn’t knock down a free throw and we turned the ball over 17 times. You don’t deserve to win.”
Golden State cooled off after a blistering first half when it hit 61.4 percent of its shots, but it made just enough plays down the stretch to rally from a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
The Warriors shot only 33 percent in the second half at the end of back-to-back road trip, and the Hornets appeared in control after going up 102-95 with a 9-2 spurt. But Thompson hit a 3 — his only basket of the second half — to make the score 107-104, and after the Hornets went back ahead 110-108, Jack took over.
“We made mistakes, but we didn’t quit,” Jackson said. “We didn’t hang our heads, even when things weren’t going our way. It was a big-time victory.”
Trailing since the late stages of the first quarter, the Hornets took the lead with a 13-2 run near the end of the third quarter. Davis dunked and Vasquez hit a 3-pointer to put them ahead 82-81. Anderson sank a 3 in between two baskets from Rivers to make the score 89-83.
Thompson hit his first seven shots in in the first half before Davis blocked his attempt with 4:21 left in the second quarter. Thompson responded with two more 3-pointers and a driving layup to put the Warriors ahead 67-57 at the break.
Thompson was 10 of 13 overall and 4 of 4 from 3-point range in the first half, making up for Curry’s slow start. Curry started 1 of 5, but when he hit his first shot 11 seconds into the second quarter, the Warriors already led 36-27. They stretched that advantage to 60-44 on Thompson’s third 3.
NOTES: The Hornets tied a season high with 32 points in the third quarter. … Golden State’s 67 points in the first half were a team high and the most New Orleans has allowed year. . Lee said before the game he could have played but the team wanted him to rest the ankle to avoid further damage at the end of back-to-back games. . The difference for the Hornets when Davis was on or off the floor? He blocked Richard Jefferson’s shot with enough authority late in the first quarter to send Jefferson on to his rear end. With Davis on the bench early in the second, Jefferson drove for a thunderous reverse dunk.