Basketball / Sports

The Golden State Warriors' Jermaine O'Neal (7) goes up for a shot against the Brooklyn Nets' Mirza Teletovic (33) in the second quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Warriors get a winning lift from Jermaine O'Neal

OAKLAND, Calif. -- No Andrew Bogut, no David Lee, no problem.

Well, it wasn't exactly as easy as that sounds, but the Golden State Warriors nonetheless gutted out a 93-86 victory against 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 help of a banked three-pointer by Stephen Curry that put it away.

Jermaine O'Neal, a hero in the Warriors' win over Houston on Thursday, came up huge again with a 23-point, 13-rebound night against the Nets, while Draymond Green, starting in place of Lee, had 18 points and 10 rebounds as Golden State won its third straight game since the All-Star break.

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.

But the Warriors not only didn't suffer on their front line but also thrived. O'Neal, belying his age of 35 and his 19 years in the league, hit 10 of 13 shots from the floor to lead the Warriors offensively.

Green, the third-year forward who started for Lee, had a critical double-double in a 38-minute stint and also played stellar defense throughout the game as the Warriors limited Brooklyn to 41 percent shooting (32 of 78).

But the game came right down to the wire as the pesky Nets simply wouldn't go away even though the Warriors led almost the entire game. Andray Blatche's shot inside tied the game at 86-all for the Nets with 1:36 to go.

O'Neal answered at the other end with 1:23 left, drawing a foul and sinking two free throws, the second after drawing a lane violation on Paul Pierce after a miss with his late-release shooting form.

The Warriors forced a turnover on the Nets' ensuing possession with 57 seconds left, and with the shot clock running down, Curry hit a long, banked 3-pointer with 37.2 seconds left to give the Warriors a five-point lead.

Another turnover resulted in a foul, and Green sank a pair of free throws with 29.4 seconds to go to finish off the hard-fought victory over the Nets, who were led by Deron Williams' 20 points.

Led by O'Neal and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors turned up their defense in the third quarter and went on a 15-5 run midway through the period to take an 11-point lead, 66-55, on an Iguodala midrange jumper with 3:12 to go in the period.

But the Nets wouldn't go away. Andrei Kirilenko scored on an offensive tip-in, Mirza Teletovic converted a layup off the break, and Alan Anderson canned a long 3-pointer to get Brooklyn back within four. Iguodala hit another jumper with 31 seconds to go in the period, but Williams answered with a 20-footer with two seconds to go to keep Brooklyn close headed into the fourth.

The Warriors jumped out to a 13-2 lead to start the game and had as much as a 12-point lead, 18-6, midway through the period. But the Nets chipped away and got back within seven at the quarter break, then actually took their first lead at 46-44 with 1:48 to go in the half on a Williams three-point play.

The Warriors bounced right back with an O'Neal three-point play at the other end, then Curry nailed a jumper over Williams to give Golden State a 49-46 lead at the half.

-- Curry entered the game with just two turnovers in the two games since the All-Star break. Currently leading the NBA with 206 turnovers (4.0 per game), he maintained he's trying to be more conscious of his turnover count.

"I'm just trying to play more under control when I get the ball in decision-making situations," he said. "I tried to think where I made most of my turnovers, and it's mostly committing to a play before it develops. I'm trying not leave my feet to make passes and on the pick-and-roll, survey the floor better. Hopefully, the trend continues. I'm paying close attention to it."

"If he's careless and reckless, that can become contagious," said Jackson. "But if he takes care of the basketball, we believe it can also become contagious. So he's taking pride in trying to make the proper decisions, and make sure he reads and reacts the proper way."

-- Jackson said Lee actually started to feel ill before Thursday's game against Houston in which he scored 28 points with 14 rebounds. But his condition worsened and even though he showed up at the team practice facility for the Saturday morning shootaround, he was immediately sent home.

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

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