Monta Ellis suffered through one of his worst shooting nights of the season on Monday, but the Warriors defense and reserves made sure it didn't matter.
While Ellis was shooting 5 for 20 in the 400th game of his NBA career, Nate Robinson, Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson triggered a fourth-quarter run that gave the Warriors a 102-96 victory over the Phoenix Suns and their first three-game win streak of the season.
The victory also snapped Golden State's seven-game losing streak to Phoenix that dated to 2009. The Suns had won 11 of the previous 12 matchups.
Robinson, Rush and Thompson combined to score 14 straight Warriors points -- including a pair of 3-pointers by Robinson -- as Golden State extended an 80-78 lead to 94-84 with 5:43 left.
Phoenix scrapped within 94-91, but reserve forward Ekpe Udoh blocked a shot at the rim by Markieff Morris with 2:30 left, then scored a layup with 35.9 seconds left, ending a drought of more than five minutes and giving momentum back to the Warriors.
Coach Mark Jackson was pleased but not surprised that his team won on a night when Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for just 27 points on 8-for-30 shooting. Each drew praise from Jackson for grabbing seven rebounds.
"That's what the good teams do. In spite of having star players not play well, they find a way to win," Jackson said. "My reserves scored 38 points. They defended. They changed the tone of the game."
David Lee led the Warriors with 28 points and 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. For stretches of the game, he was the team's only effective offensive weapon.
The Warriors shot 37 percent in the first half, but Jackson liked their chances, even down 46-43.
"I told them at halftime, the old Warrior team would be down 15, 20 points because their defense wouldn't have kept them in the game," Jackson said.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors held Phoenix to 9-for-24 shooting, including 1 for 8 from 3-point range. The Suns finished 5 for 25 from beyond the arc.
"Our defense won it down the stretch," Lee said.
For much of the fourth quarter, Jackson had as many as four reserves on the floor.
"That's what a team's for -- guys picking up other guys when they're not shooting the ball well," said Robinson, who scored 11 points in 18 minutes. "It's a team game. We just play hard. It's been working for us."
Udoh scored nine points, but his emphasis remains defense. And he's proud the team has won three in a row while allowing an average of just 98 points.
"We've got that grittiness this year, that lockdown defense," he said. "We were on a little drought, and we stayed in there defensively."
Ellis scored 18 points but missed his first nine shots, primarily against the defense of 39-year-old Grant Hill.
"There'll be nights like this," said Ellis, who had averaged 38 points in his three previous home games, including an NBA season-high 48 against Oklahoma City just six nights earlier. "The great thing is we got a win."
Curry agreed. He was just 3 for 10 and scored nine points but was smiling afterward.
"This just speaks volumes for our defense when our shots aren't falling," he said. "Especially early, we stayed in the game when we were missing left and right."
Martin Gortat scored 25 for Phoenix, and Steve Nash had 14 assists, five of them in the first six minutes when the Suns jumped out in front.
The Suns led by 12 midway through the third quarter, but Golden State inched to a 76-73 lead entering the final 12 minutes.
With four reserves on the floor, the Warriors, pushed the margin to 82-78 when Rush turned a Phoenix turnover into a breakaway dunk with just under nine minutes left. A 3-pointer by Robinson made it 85-80 a minute later, and the Warriors were on their way.
"I can remember playing one game against the Warriors in the Garden, and in the first half I thought I did an outstanding job. I thought I took Tim out of rhythm," said Jackson, who played most of his career with the New York Knicks.
"Coming out of halftime, he must have scored the first four baskets, and I asked him, `What's going on? You're in attack mode now?'
"He said, `Nellie (coach Don Nelson) got on me at halftime, said I wasn't aggressive.' So I got upset with Nellie and held a grudge for quite a long time because Tim put on a clinic in the second half."
Hardaway played 51/2 seasons with Golden State, beginning in 1989-90. He averaged more than 20 points in four of those seasons and made famous the cross-over dribble move, which his bobblehead is shown executing.
"It's like American Idol gone NBA," Gentry said. "I just think it's great for our league. It's got everybody talking about it in New York and everywhere else."
Portland (15-13) at Warriors (11-14), 7 p.m., CSNBA
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