CHARLOTTE (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 25 points and the Golden State Warriors held off a late rally to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 96-95 on Friday.
Stephen Curry added 24 points and Dorell Wright 17 for the Warriors, who led by as many as 11 points midway through the third quarter and held a six-point lead with 1:20 remaining.
Stephen Jackson scored 22 points for the Bobcats, but missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining that could have given Charlotte its third consecutive win under interim head coach Paul Silas.
Gerald Wallace added 20 points, D.J. Augustin 12 and Boris Diaw 10 points for the Bobcats.
Up by six points at the half, Golden State extended its lead to 64-53 on Ellis’ layup with 7:48 left in the third quarter, and were ahead 77-70 by the end of the period.
Charlotte, however, cut the Warriors’ lead to 91-90 on Augustin’s 3-pointer with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter. But David Lee hit a free throw and Ellis made a jumper and layup to put Golden State up 96-90 with 1:20 remaining.
The Bobcats made another run in the final minute, with Jackson hitting a free throw, Gerald Henderson tipping in a miss by Jackson, then Diaw hit a layup to pull to 96-95 with 14.5 seconds remaining.
Golden State had a shot at running out the clock, but Ellis was called for an offensive foul on an inbounds play with 8.5 seconds left, giving Charlotte another chance. But Jackson’s 3-point attempt clanged off the side of the rim.
Silas, who replaced Larry Brown on Dec. 22, had won his first two games as Charlotte’s interim head coach — 105-100 over Detroit on Monday, and 101-92 over Cleveland on Wednesday. But getting that third straight win proved to be too much of a challenge, as Golden State hit its first seven shots and raced to an 11-point lead early in the first quarter.
Charlotte clawed its way back into contention, leading twice— the last time at 36-32 on Henderson’s short jumper with 6:49 left in the second quarter—and tying the score four times, the last at 40-all on Wallace’s 3-pointer with 4:51 remaining. Curry then stifled any further Charlotte rallies in the first half, scoring eight of his 11 second-quarter points in a four-minute span.
His 3-pointer put Golden State up 45-40, another 3 less than a minute later pushed the margin to 48-44, and a fast-break layup with 36 seconds remaining gave the Warriors a 52-46 lead at the break.
Notes: Friday’s game was the first time that Charlotte assistant coach Stephen Silas had faced his former team. Silas, the son of Bobcats interim head coach Paul Silas, had been an Warriors assistant for more than four seasons until joining his father’s staff earlier this week. “Stephen had worked with me for a long time,” Golden State head coach Keith Smart said. “But it was a no-brainer—I told Stephen that I’d drive him to the airport. He was torn because of what he had been doing for us. But I told him that he had to focus on himself and his family, and the opportunity to work with his dad. I’m sure that if the situation was reversed, he’d think the same thing.” … Among those attending Friday’s game was Bob McKillop, Curry’s head coach at Davidson, and the entire Wildcats roster. Curry and Warriors teammate Reggie Williams watched Davidson play St. John’s (Maine) the day before, and McKillop returned the favor Friday. “They had to switch practice time to make sure they could make the game,” said Curry, who had to “65 or 70 tickets” for friends to attend Friday’s game, and was the only Golden State player to draw cheers from the Bobcats’ fans during pre-game introductions. … Jackson and Ellis exchanged a big hug at midcourt before tipoff. The two were teammates with the Warriors before Jackson was traded to the Bobcats in 2009. … Charlotte C DeSagana Diop came out of the game midway through the second quarter with a straight right Achilles’ tendon. His status for the Bobcats’ home game against Miami on Jan. 3 was unknown. … Bobcats F Tyrus Thomas missed his second straight game with sprained right wrist, and Silas said that his return to the lineup is “day to day.” Thomas was joined on the inactive list by C Kwame Brown and F Eduardo Najera. … The Warriors were without C Andris Biedrins (left ankle sprain) and C Dan Gadzuric (left groin strain). Also inactive for Golder State was G Jeremy Lin.
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