Following Steve Blake’s debut, the Golden State Warriors will try to build on what they considered one of their best victories of the season.
The Brooklyn Nets hope to receive a boost from new addition Marcus Thornton, especially if Paul Pierce is unable to recover from an apparent leg injury.
The Warriors go for their third straight victory following the All-Star break while the Nets seek their sixth win in eight games Saturday night.
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Blake was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday for reserves Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, and the veteran point guard entered to a standing ovation in the first quarter of a 102-99 overtime win over Houston that night.
"Now to be on a winning team and have a chance to get in the playoffs and do something big is huge," said Blake, who had three points in 18 minutes. "I look forward to that challenge."
Golden State (33-22) is counting on Blake, averaging 9.3 points and 7.4 assists, to improve a bench that has been searching for a solid ball-handler to spell starter Stephen Curry. The Warriors bench is second-to-last in the league in points (24.1 per game) and last in assists (4.1).
Curry scored 25, including a tying layup with 3.2 seconds left in regulation, and David Lee had 28 points and 14 rebounds to help Golden State stop the Rockets’ eight-game winning streak.
"That’s one of our biggest wins of the year," said Jermaine O’Neal, who had a key block down the stretch while filling in for the injured Andrew Bogut (shoulder).
Bogut has missed the last six games and it’s unclear when he will return.
Curry has averaged 27.8 points and hit 19 of 27 from 3-point range in his last four home games. He scored 34 at Brooklyn on Jan. 8, but the Warriors were denied a franchise-record 11th straight victory as they blew a 16-point lead to lose 102-98.
The Nets bench outscored Golden State’s reserves 36-17 that night and now has a new face in Thornton, who hopes to rediscover his scoring touch after being acquired from Sacramento for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans on Wednesday.
Thornton mostly started his first 78 games with the Kings and averaged 19.6 points, but dropped to 12.7 per game as a reserve in 2012-13 and a career-low 8.3 this season while falling out of favor under defensive-minded coach Michael Malone. However, the fifth-year guard showed he can still be a force offensively with a career high-tying 42 points against Indiana on Jan. 24.
"Marcus is a proven scorer in this league," Brooklyn general manager Billy King said in a statement. "He is a young talent who will help us in the backcourt."
Thornton wasn’t yet available Wednesday night when the Nets (25-27) rallied for a 105-99 victory at Utah.
Pierce was limping in the second half and didn’t play in crunch time.
"I have arthritis and turf toe but it’ll be all right," said the 36-year-old Pierce, who hasn’t missed a game since early December.
Joe Johnson stepped up with 27 points, Andray Blatche had 25 and Deron Williams added 19 as Brooklyn ended a three-game road skid.
"The (All-Star) break was good for me," said Johnson, who averaged 9.9 points in his previous 10 games while battling knee tendinitis. "It’s feeling a lot better."
He scored 27 to help make up for Williams’ absence due to a sprained ankle in last month’s win over the Warriors. Johnson, though, has totaled 25 points in his last two visits to Oakland.
The Nets have dropped seven of eight there, but they are an Eastern Conference-best 15-6 since Jan. 1.