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Basketball / Sports

Warriors end losing skid

NEW ORLEANS -- The Golden State Warriors' defense locked down in the second half, and Golden State snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans, 97-87, on Saturday night.

Effort on the defensive end became a concern after the Warriors allowed a combined 250 points in losses to Phoenix and Oklahoma City. It looked as if it could be problematic again after allowing 29 first-quarter points to a Pelicans team playing without three starters.

But despite playing the second half of a back-to-back, the Warriors found their defense in the second half to win their sixth straight game in New Orleans. Golden State surrendered just 18 points in the third quarter and only 15 in the fourth, and the Pelicans shot 38.6 percent for the night.

Stephen Curry paced the Warriors with 28 points and eight assists. David Lee added 22 points and eight rebounds, and Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 15 boards.

The Pelicans played without injured starters Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith but gave the Warriors trouble early on.

The first quarter belonged to Anthony Davis, the second-year big man who was the No.1 overall pick in 2012. He made his first five shots and had 15 points and five rebounds in the opening quarter.

Jordan Crawford was a nice spark off the bench again in his second game with the Warriors and knocked down his first two shots, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 22 with 2:26 left in the first.

The rest of Golden State's reserves couldn't keep it close, though, and New Orleans went on an 18-7 run that spilled into the second quarter and gave the Pelicans their largest lead at 40-29.

The Warriors' starters returned shortly after, but even that wasn't an immediate cure. After four minutes with them back on the court, the deficit slipped to 11 points again.

The much-needed run to close the first half came when Curry made his first 3-pointer of the night and Golden State scored nine straight. The Warriors went into halftime trailing 54-52.

Golden State regained the lead on a Curry reverse layup with 7:46 left in the third -- their first lead since it was 2-1. The Warriors started gaining some distance when Lee knocked down two jumpers and Klay Thompson, previously 2 of 11 shooting on the night, hit a 3 to make it 71-64.

The lead reached as much as 12 points for Golden State, but New Orleans scored the final six points of the third to make it a six-point game.

The Pelicans pulled within two points early in the fourth, but Crawford quickly showed his value. He knocked down a fall away jumper to end New Orleans' 10-0 run, then buried a 3-pointer to help extend the lead again.

The Warriors took a while to fully put the Pelicans away. The lead reached nine, but Brian Roberts delivered a four-point play when Curry slapped his hand after he released a 3. The Pelicans never pulled any closer, and Golden State secured the victory.

(c)2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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