One of Larry Riley’s last moves during his nearly three-year stint as general manager of the Golden State Warriors is turning out to be his best.
Riley, who was replaced by Bob Myers in April 2012, decided that the Warriors’ mighty-mite backcourt of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry wasn’t going to work in the long run, so he opted to trade Ellis and young big man Ekpe Udoh to the Milwaukee Bucks two days before the trading deadline for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
Curry scored 16 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, including a 19-foot pull-up jumper with three seconds left, as the Warriors came from behind to beat Ellis’ new team, the Dallas Mavericks, 95-93, at Oracle Arena.
As for Bogut, all he did was yank down a season-high 18 rebounds in 35 minutes.
Ellis finished with 21 points for the Mavericks, but lost for the first time as a visitor at the “O.” Ellis made his Bucks’ debut at Oracle Arena on March 16, 2012, and scored 18 points in a 120-98 Bucks win and had 26 points in a 103-93 Milwaukee victory on March 9.
Dallas (13-10) led by as 18 points in the second quarter and was up 55-44 at halftime before the Warriors (13-10) began their comeback.
Of course, eight days after coming back from 27 down to Toronto in the third quarter, erasing an 18-point deficit from the first half is easy, right?
Golden State led 10-7 early in the game before the Mavericks went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. The Warriors wouldn’t lead again until Draymond Green drained a 3-pointer with 49.9 seconds left to put the Dubs up 93-92.
Ellis had a chance to give the Mavs the lead back with 46.8 seconds left, but missed the first of two free throws. He hit the second to tie the game at 93.
Curry missed a driving layup with 37.9 seconds left and Ellis got the rebound. After a Dallas timeout, Ellis got free for a 13-footer that missed.
Golden State coach Mark Jackson opted not to use a timeout after Curry rebounded Ellis’ miss and Curry rewarded that move with the dagger.
Hilton Armstrong, signed earlier in the day from the Warriors’ NBA Development League affiliate in Santa Cruz, made his Warriors debut, playing seven minutes and recording three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points for Dallas, as did Ellis, while Jose Calderon went for 18 points and Shawn Marion scored 12. Ellis and Calderon each handed out five assists, while Marion and DeJuan Blair led Dallas with nine rebounds each.
Golden State came out ice cold, hitting just 6-of-24 in the first quarter while falling behind 23-16. The Warriors heated up in the second, hitting 11-of-19, but still trailed by 11 going into the break.
But it was Dallas’ turn to struggle with shots in the second half. The Mavericks were just 5-for-20 in the third quarter and 14-for-38 in the second half.
The Warriors are home again Friday night, hosting the Houston Rockets for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. The Rockets blew out the Warriors 105-83 in their last meeting in Houston last Friday.