OAKLAND -- No Andrew Bogut, no David Lee, no problem.
Well, it wasn't exactly as easy as that sounds, but the Warriors nonetheless gutted out a 93-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night at Oracle Arena, and the two guys who replaced the injured Bogut and the ill Lee led the way, with the aid of a late banked 3-pointer by Stephen Curry that finally put it away.
Jermaine O'Neal, a hero in the win over Houston on Thursday with a late blocked shot, came up huge again with a 23-point, 13-rebound night, while Draymond Green, starting in place of Lee, had a career-high 18 points plus 10 rebounds as Golden State won its third straight game since the All-Star break.
For all of their heroics, though, it took another clutch Curry shot -- albeit a bit lucky -- from the left wing with 37.2 seconds left to shake off the pesky Nets. Curry wouldn't admit whether he called "glass" or not but maintained it wasn't a fluke that it went in.
"It was a good shot," he said. "I held my follow-through. That's what I tell everybody about tips for shooting, hold your follow-through. You never know what's going to happen."
What happened was it salvaged a crucial game for the Warriors as they head out on a six-game trip, and it rewarded the performances of O'Neal and Green, who were nothing short of sensational.
It was expected that Bogut would miss his seventh straight game with a left-shoulder problem, but the stunner came before the game when coach Mark Jackson announced that Lee would miss the game with a bad case of the stomach flu.
The Warriors not only didn't suffer on their front line but also thrived. O'Neal, belying his age of 35 and his 18 years in the league, hit 10 of 13 shots to lead the Warriors. Jackson was bubbling over with praise for his backup big man.
"He's a big-time warrior, no pun intended," Jackson said. "For a guy at this stage of his career, to miss this much of the season, to be ready to respond when called upon, is a true testament to who he is as a basketball player. Just a big-time game for him."
"I haven't seen J.O. play like that since Indiana," said the Nets' Kevin Garnett. "I'm glad he found the fountain of youth."
O'Neal didn't anticipate playing this much since returning from a wrist injury, but he's looking at it pragmatically -- it's getting him in shape. As for the other part -- producing -- he isn't as surprised.
"It's just about doing your job," he said. "When your number's called, you try to do it to the best of your ability. I've seen this show before in my career, I've been able to carry some load on the offensive end, so I'm familiar with it."
But at 35? He wasn't looking it on this night, throwing down dunks and finishing at the rim virtually every time he got the ball. He got the ball a lot, too, on passes from Curry, Steve Blake and Andre Iguodala.
"For me, it was about setting great screens and then getting to the open spot," he said. "Tonight, it was working for us."
As for Green, he nearly wound up on the front line casualty list before even getting to the arena. He was involved in a car accident en route -- more severe than just a fender-bender, he noted -- but nonetheless logged 38 minutes and put up his second NBA double-double to fill Lee's void. He played tremendous defense, logged three steals and made six big free throws without a miss in the final four minutes.
"He's a gamer," said Curry. "He's got a high motor, so regardless of how he shoots the ball, he's going to make plays to help win the game."
Curry was actually the Warriors' third leading scorer on this night with 17 points but added eight assists and for the third straight game and had a low turnover count -- just two.
Deron Williams led the Nets with 20 points, but the Warriors limited Brooklyn to 41 percent shooting (32 for 78) and just 2 for 21 from beyond the 3-point arc.
It set a good tone for the upcoming trip.
"It's huge for morale, for the overall feel of the team, to get on that plane knowing you're going to be gone for 10 days and six games," Curry said. "To win three in a row, and the way we won tonight, it's a big deal."
Warriors (34-22) at Detroit (23-33), 4:30 p.m. CSNBA