OAKLAND -- There he was at the sweet conclusion, facing the exhilarated Oracle Arena crowd, hands aloft and clapping amid confetti, soaking it in. And, finally, before exiting the court, Jarrett Jack paused to make one final move.

The veteran guard stepped onto the seat of a chair near the Warriors bench to clap a few more times and take a well-deserved bow before walking away with a smile.

Jack could well have been asking of fickle Warriors fans a rhetorical question: How do you like me now?

They liked him plenty Sunday, their joy loudly evident during his essential work in a 97-87 Game 4 overtime win over San Antonio that allowed the Warriors to even these Western Conference semifinals at two games apiece.

It was Jack, of all players, who was most responsible for sending Warriors fans home delighted and putting the team on a high.

"When you have tough games or when you don't win, people are always going to look for something," general manager Bob Myers said, conceding that Jack is something of a lightning rod. "But you need to remind yourself that he's obviously a huge reason we won today -- and we're not even here without him."

To those who question Jack's value if not his toughness, he submitted 24 points and four assists in 37 minutes, every fraction of which was necessary with star guard Stephen Curry limping about on a tender left ankle.

To those who question Jack's judgment if not his intent, he owned the fourth quarter and overtime, setting the proper tempo, making big shots when they had to be made, passing for three other baskets and committing zero turnovers.

"People beat up Jarrett Jack. Why is he pounding the ball? Bench him," said coach Mark Jackson, who defends Jack at every bumpy turn. "I'm going to go with this group until I'm not here."

Jackson rode Jack for every second in the fourth quarter and overtime. He was rewarded with 12 points -- including eight of the Warriors' last 12 to close the quarter -- and three assists and zero turnovers.

And then there was Jack's crunchtime cool and hubris, an intangible he consistently brings.

It is this intestinal fortitude that makes him so popular with his coaches and teammates. Jack, 29, is that utterly fearless man who says what must be said and would not flinch at the prospect of accompanying a timid teammate through a long, dark alley in a cold, strange town.

Jack is, in oh so many ways, a sunnier and gentler Stephen Jackson.

That's why the Warriors, knowing they had a need for someone who could fill that role, as well as a couple others, acquired him in an offseason trade -- and why Jack saw the franchise as the right place for him.

"Just being a vocal presence, that was the thing that was probably most necessary here," he said. "I thought we had guys who were tremendously talented. (I was) just trying to convey coach's message, but not try to come in and overshadow the guys that were here already."

Jack is here to play point guard and give Curry a break from the duty. He's here to let his teammates know he has their back. He's an extension of his coach, and on this day he was the guy who got the Warriors into overtime and, eventually, engineered the victory.

Yes, Jack sometimes over-dribbles. He can get a bit too stubborn with his shot. He's prone to ghastly turnovers.

But every NBA contender needs two or three truly audacious players, and Jack bristles with that characteristic.

It is perhaps his greatest asset and surely his occasional downfall. It is why he is loved and hated and tolerated by Warriors fans. The man plays with their emotions, takes them on thrill rides.

The ride Sunday ended with Jack in control, orchestrating the rush that comes with knowing that no matter what happens in Game 5 Tuesday at San Antonio, this series returns to Oracle on Thursday for Game 6.

"We're not where we are without Jarrett Jack," Myers reiterated. "That's all the fans need to know and realize."

There were cheers at the end Sunday. They were for Jack, and he bathed in them. He had earned at least that much, at least until the next game.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/1montepoole.