ATLANTA — Some 30 fans sat behind the Warriors bench before the game Friday, many donning red and blue gear. They weren't Atlanta Hawks fans getting a closer look at the opponent.
They were Davidson fans getting a close-up look at Warriors rookie guard Stephen Curry.
"I'm glad they weren't at the Orlando game," coach Don Nelson said through a laugh.
Curry put on a show for the crew of Atlanta-area alumna from his alma mater. It was hardly a flawless performance, and it couldn't prevent a 127-122 loss to the Hawks. But 31 points, 11 assists and five rebounds qualify as a big night by most standards.
Now Curry is expected to do it again tonight against the Bobcats in Charlotte, his first pro game in his hometown.
"It's going to be fun," Curry said. "Lot of family in town. Lot of Davidson fans are going to be there. My teammates from last year are going to be there. They're going to be loud and it's going to be fun to play in that arena. I worked out there all summer so it's going to feel like home. ... You'll know where the Curry section is, I promise you that."
After upsetting the Hawks in Oakland last month, the Warriors nearly pulled off the season sweep Friday. But Atlanta's front line — forwards Josh Smith and Marvin Williams, and center Al Horford — was too much, combining for 68 points and 38 rebounds.
The Warriors got a big boost from forward Corey Maggette, who surprised the team by flying in from Los Angeles late Thursday night. He lobbied to join the team on the road trip, then to play, because he missed the guys and figured that being about 70 percent healthy was enough.
After missing the previous six games with a strained left hamstring, he came off the bench to play 23 minutes, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds.
"It was huge just having him out there to create those mismatches for us again," guard Anthony Morrow said, after scoring 21 points. "He really carried us for a while."
Golden State trailed by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter. But Maggette, who had his jumper going early, led the way by attacking the basket as the Warriors chipped away at the Hawks' lead. His fifth free throw of the quarter cut the Hawks' advantage to 112-110. Moments later, the Warriors were within a point after a three-point play by Curry with 49.6 seconds remaining.
But Atlanta knocked down all eight of its free throws the rest of the way to pull it out — two by former Warriors guard Jamal Crawford, who scored 12 in the fourth quarter.
"We made them play," Nelson said. "Our effort was good. They had to be good to beat us tonight, and they were."
Still, Philips Arena was abuzz with talk of the Warriors' rookie. Curry rebounded from a rough night in Wednesday's loss at Orlando, in which he had nine points on 3-for-12 shooting with three assists in 32-plus minutes. The highlight of Friday's performance was a two-minute, 39-second stretch in the second quarter in which he scored 10 points in dramatic fashion.
After hitting a jump shot, Curry knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, the latter putting the Warriors up 56-52 after they'd been down by nine just minutes earlier. Then he broke down Horford with a crossover and pull-up 19-footer.
Curry either scored or assisted on 15 consecutive Warriors points in the second quarter.
"It's like flashes of greatness that we're watching," Maggette said. "We watch an All-Star forming every game.
"He's scoring and he's facilitating. I really love this kid, the way he's handled himself through all this and continue to play. "
Notes: Warriors guard C.J. Watson had 20 points, six assists and four rebounds. But he had no steals, snapping a streak of nine games with at least one steal. During that nine-game stretch, Watson averaged 3.9 steals. ... Forward Anthony Tolliver had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 44 minutes. He set a career-high with four made 3-pointers. ... Morrow had family, friends and ex-Georgia Tech teammates in attendance Friday. The Charlotte native calls Atlanta his second home. ... Atlanta guard Joe Johnson topped 12,000 points for his career despite having just 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting.