LOS ANGELES — With his team's lead dwindling and in danger of being erased, Warriors coach Don Nelson needed fourth-quarter offense.
But he couldn't turn to guard Monta Ellis, the team's leading scorer, who was back in the Bay Area on Sunday with an illness. And Nelson didn't turn to point guard Stephen Curry, who had 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting through three quarters.
Nelson, instead, turned to his rookie swingman, the one not a month removed from the NBA Development League. And Reggie Williams delivered, totaling seven points and three assists in the final eight minutes as the Warriors pulled away to a 121-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I think he has a gift," Nelson said of Williams. "He doesn't even know how big a gift he has. We've just dusted off the surface."
Williams helped pull Nelson to within three games of becoming the NBA's all-time winningest coach. He needs two victories over the last nine games to tie Lenny Wilkens' mark of 1,332.
The Warriors have five more games against sub-.500 teams, including all four on a road trip that begins Sunday in Toronto.
Golden State snapped a 13-game road losing streak, improving to 5-30 away from home.
But for moments in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Warriors would endure their second collapse this month. On March 11 against Portland at Oracle Arena, the Warriors' blew a 13-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter by managing
The Warriors trailed the Clippers by as much as 13 in the first quarter and were down 36-29 entering the second quarter. Twelve minutes later, the Warriors led by 19.
An Anthony Tolliver 3-pointer started a 32-10 run to close the first half. Williams scored nine during the run as the Warriors took a 69-50 lead into the locker room.
But Golden State's lead, which got as high as 20 in third-quarter, was down to 100-91 with 9:05 left after a jumper by Clippers guard Steve Blake and a technical foul by the Warriors after their second delay of game. A 3-pointer by Los Angeles forward Rasual Butler made it 113-103 Warriors with 2:16 to go, but that's when Williams, playing point-forward, took over.
"He took advantage of the situation," Curry said, "and made plays for us when we needed them."
Williams converted a layup with 1:57 left, and after a Clippers miss he nailed a 3-pointer, giving Golden State a 118-103 advantage.
Clippers point guard Baron Davis — who finished with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds — followed with a missed 3-pointer. Then Williams found Tolliver, who nailed a 3-pointer, giving him 19 points and putting the game on ice. It was Williams' seventh assist of the night.
"He's a rare basketball player as far as I can see," Nelson said. "He's able to have the mental capacity to be able to understand the total game. I think he's a special player, and here we got him out of the rock heap."