Jermaine O’Neal didn’t exactly party like it was 1999, but lashed the form that made him a six-time All-Star from 2002-07 for the short-handed Golden State Warriors Saturday night, scoring 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds as the Warriors dropped the Brooklyn Nets 93-86 at Oracle Arena.
Both totals were season highs for O’Neal, the 35-year-old who started in place of injured Andrew Bogut for the fifth straight game. It was O’Neal’s first 20-point, 10-rebound game since putting up 22 and 13 for the Phoenix Suns in a win at San Antonio on Feb. 27, 2013.
But that wasn’t the only problem the Dubs had to contend with, as power forward David Lee was also out with stomach flu. But Draymond Green stepped in with a huge game of his own—18 points, 10 rebounds and three steals—as Golden State was still able to take advantage of the smallish Nets on the interior.
The Warriors (34-22) outscored the Nets in the paint 52-38 and crushed them on the boards 50-39 as Brooklyn started a lineup with essentially four guards (Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston and Deron Williams) with Kevin Garnett.
Brooklyn (25-28) hung around late, tying the game twice in the final 2½ minutes, and trailed 88-86 after O’Neal nailed a pair of free throws with 1:23 to go. Johnson missed a mid-range jumper, but Andray Blatche came up with a big offensive rebound for the Nets. But in the same possession, Johnson threw the ball away.
Stephen Curry made the Nets pay for the mistake, banking in a long 3-pointer with 37.2 seconds left to put the Warriors up by five. Green hit two free throws with 29.4 seconds remaining to ice it.
O’Neal was 10-for-13 from the floor and hit all three of his free throw attempts. Curry added 17 points and eight assists for the Warriors and Andre Iguodala contributed 11 rebounds and four steals.
Williams paced the Nets with 20 points and six assists. Johnson scored 15 points, Blatche had 14 and Pierce added 11. Andrei Kirilenko led the Nets with nine rebounds.
Brooklyn was 32-for-78 (41 percent) overall, 2-for-21 (9.5 percent) from 3-point range and 20-for-24 (83.3 percent) from the foul line. Golden State was 37-for-85 (43.5 percent), 6-for-20 (30 percent) and 13-for-17 (76.5 percent). The Warriors also limited their turnovers, committing just 10, while Brooklyn gave it away 16 times.
The Nets played without newly acquired Marcus Thornton, who did not dress because of food poisoning. He was acquired from the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
The Warriors will look for their fourth straight win on Monday when they open a six-game Eastern road trip in Detroit. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. Pacific.