First, let's put the Warriors' 109-100 win Monday in context. It came at home against the New Jersey Nets, the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference.
Even so, the Warriors have developed a nice head of steam. They've won two straight and four of their last six. With the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings coming to town this week -- both with losing records, and both having dropped seven of 10 -- the Warriors have set themselves up to get back to .500 in a hurry.
All they have to do is continue winning the games they should, as they did Monday.
"We just have to continue to do what we do," said guard Monta Ellis, who finished with 26 points, nine assists, five rebounds and three steals. "We need to feed off the crowd and make a push for it."
The Warriors (17-23) did what it took to beat the struggling Nets, who are still hoping to win the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. It wasn't pretty, but Golden State executed in some areas that have been problems this season.
The Warriors took care of the ball, committing a season-low six turnovers. They got to the line and knocked down 21 of 28 (New Jersey took 24 free throw shots, the first time the Warriors had that advantage in eight games).
And Golden State got key, clutch contributions from the bench. Swingman Reggie Williams had 12 points and four rebounds. Guard Acie Law had two assists.
That helped because starting point guard Stephen Curry was plagued with foul trouble and small forward Dorell Wright, who's been hot most of this month, had a bad afternoon. Wright finished with 10 points on 2-for-7 shooting.
"(Remember) early in the year, when the bench was complaining about not playing?" coach Keith Smart said, "Well, now they're playing and they're playing well. That's the point I was trying to get across to them, that you have to be productive when you come off the bench. I don't know who it's going to be every night that's going to play well. But right now I've got two, maybe three guys that are playing well."
Of course, it helped that forward David Lee had one of his better games of the season. He totaled 24 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. It was his fourth 20-and-10 game of the season.
The Warriors, who maintained a small margin for most of the game, created some breathing room early in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Williams and a 21-footer by Ellis turned a four-point lead into an 84-75 Warriors advantage with 10:45 left. The Nets hung around, but every time they got too close, the Warriors had an answer.
At the 5:46 mark, the Warriors' lead was down to six after an alley-oop from Nets point guard Devin Harris to center Brook Lopez. But Ellis answered by slashing for a layup for a 97-89 Warriors advantage.
Harris, who finished with 19 points and eight assists, followed with a pull-up jumper in transition. But Ellis answered by getting to the rim again, and Golden State led 99-91.
New Jersey got within 101-96 with just over two minutes left, but this time Curry hit a 3-pointer to put the Warriors up 104-96 with 1:57 remaining. That turned out to be the dagger.
Warriors (17-23) vs. Indiana (16-22), 7:30 p.m., CSNBA
Foul troubles keep Stephen Curry off the floor. Page 2