The previous 14 days, the previous seven games, the previous 343 minutes, five seconds of game action, the Warriors had played without guard Monta Ellis.

But in the second half of Sunday's 120-117 win over the playoff-bound Oklahoma City Thunder, Ellis looked as if he was never gone.

"He's a guy that is somewhat on the side of a freak of nature when it comes to a basketball player athletically," assistant coach Keith Smart said of Ellis after serving as head coach on a whim by head coach Don Nelson. "A guy can be off for (two weeks) and ... you can see he lost some weight. I thought he showed some leadership out there."

In his first game back after a bout with the flu, Ellis played a tad more than 37 minutes. He scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Warriors rally after they trailed by 20 in the first half. It was the 13th time this season the Warriors have overcome a double-digit deficit and the second time they've won after trailing by at least 20.

Ellis also blanketed Thunder star forward Kevin Durant in the second half. Durant finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, but he was 5-for-19 with 14 points in the second half.

Ellis said he hadn't touched a ball since exiting a 111-90 loss to Dallas midway through the third quarter on March 27. At one point, he said, Ellis feared he had more than just the flu. Blood tests came back negative for any abnormalities.

"I was too weak to do anything. I never really felt that way. Usually I gut it out," Ellis said. "But that last game I played, I just couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to go out there and hurt my team anymore."

He said he started feeling ill around the Phoenix game on March 22. He was told to rest by the doctor, but he didn't and the condition got worse. Ellis said he had a persistent headache that traditional pain relievers couldn't cure.

Ellis said he regretted missing the road trip on which Nelson tied and broke Lenny Wilkens' record for most NBA coaching victories. He said he also missed his teammates. But he said he never considered shutting it down for the season.

"(Guard) C.J. (Watson) went down and I wanted to finish the season off and help my teammates," Ellis said. "The chemistry the last month or two has been great. Everybody is having fun, and it's a great thing."

Ellis said he wasn't sure if playing was a good idea. Initially, it didn't appear to be. He scored six points and committed three turnovers in his first 13 minutes.

The Warriors gave up 42 points in the first quarter and, after a James Harden 3-pointer to start the second quarter, trailed 45-25.

But as Ellis sat and watched, the Warriors rallied with a 3-point barrage. Over the next 4:22, the Warriors shaved 11 points from the deficit. Rookie guard Stephen Curry — who finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists — knocked down two of the Warriors' three 3-pointers during that stretch, and capped the run with a three-point play on a layup. His free throw made the score 47-38.

The Warriors had the lead down to seven points by halftime, close enough for Ellis to take over. Back-to-back 3s by Ellis had the Warriors' down 78-75 and got him going. Early in the fourth quarter, his layup put the Warriors ahead 95-94, their first lead since 3-2.

Down the stretch, Ellis made several key baskets, including a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 111-109 advantage with two minutes left.

"We got off to a slow start," center Ronny Turiaf said. "It was just a matter of weathering the storm. I think it was a matter of getting the right guys out there and getting the right personnel."

Notes: Nelson was honored in a pregame ceremony commemorating his record-setting victory last week. Video tributes from fellow coaches Pat Riley, Larry Brown and others also played on the scoreboard throughout the game. ... By going 3-for-6 from 3-point range Sunday, Curry set the record for 3-pointers made by a rookie. He has 162 with three games left. The previous mark was 159 by Portland's Rudy Fernandez last season. "It means a lot to me," Curry said, "because at the beginning of the year, I never thought it would be a possibility. One, I wasn't putting up too many 3s. Two, I wasn't making them." Curry is also the first rookie since Carmelo Anthony in 2004 to score at least 25 points in five straight games.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.