LOS ANGELES — The Warriors were down by three points with four seconds left when coach Don Nelson called a timeout to draw up a play.
But it didn't matter that forward Anthony Tolliver's game-tying attempt from the top missed off the back rim, sealing the Warriors' 55th loss of the season, 107-104 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. What mattered is that they were in it down the stretch, scrapping, executing, caring.
"Playing well," Nelson said before the game, "That's more important than if you win or lose, at this point. It's about the growth of the individuals and the team."
The Warriors had won five of eight before Saturday's close loss. They have three games left, two at home including tonight vs. Oklahoma City.
Warriors rookie guard Stephen Curry got more experience as the floor general. He had 29 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes.
Swingman Reggie Williams logged more time in the Warriors system. He had 22 points and six rebounds in 44 minutes.
Anthony Morrow's confidence was perhaps aided by an 18-point performance off the bench.
When you're 31 games under .500 and playing out the string, winning isn't everything. The Warriors were able to give their young players some meaningful experience.
"It gives guys a lot of confidence," Morrow said. "I know last year, it gave me a lot of confidence, just getting all the playing time and experience. Playing against teams that are
The Warriors did just that despite not having their star guard for the seventh consecutive game. The flu-ridden Monta Ellis' status for tonight is still up in the air.
Even without Ellis, even with eight players in uniform for the umpteenth game, the Warriors took control in the fourth quarter.
Morrow gave Golden State an 87-85 with just over 10 minutes left by knocking down his fourth 3-pointer. A few minutes later, a three-point play on a drive by Williams put the Warriors ahead 97-91.
But the Clippers went on a 12-1 run, capped by a Steve Novak 3-pointer and a DeAndre Jordan dunk, putting the Warriors down 103-98. Golden State never got closer than three.
But what mattered more was that Tolliver got meaningful action in a close game, playing through foul trouble and against a bigger front line. He had 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
"These games don't mean anything to everybody else," forward Devean George said, "but to us they mean a lot. We're going to play hard. We still want to play well out there. These are not garbage minutes by any means.
"The young guys are taking full advantage. These guys are playing well, playing together. The only thing I'd like to see is for them to not be so serious all the time."