Warriors win; Nelson ties career wins record
TORONTO – Don Nelson might not be much of a dancer, but he’s one heck of a coach.
Nelson tied Lenny Wilkens for the most wins by an NBA coach when the Golden State Warriors held off the Toronto Raptors 113-112 on Sunday night.
“What a game to tie the record,” Nelson said. “Unbelievable. It had about everything you’d want, from good to bad to playing great to wetting the bed, and we did about all of it. Somehow we prevailed.”
The victory was the 1,332nd for Nelson, who can pass Wilkens when Golden State plays at Washington on Tuesday.
Golden State’s players danced in a circle around Nelson after the wild finish, which saw Chris Bosh steal the inbounds pass only to have his game-winning layup attempt roll off the rim as time expired.
“You live for moments like that, when the team wants something more than you do yourself,” Nelson said of the postgame celebration. “They’re just so happy that we got it together as a group, that they were part of it.
“They put me in their circle of hope, or whatever they call that. I’ve been practicing and I did a little dance. I saw CJ (Watson) do it one time, he was in the middle and he did a little dance so I tried to imitate him and give them whatever I had, which wasn’t very much.”
Forward Rony Turiaf said Nelson’s dancing “has a long way to go.”
“For now, he’s a second-round draft pick,” Turiaf joked. “It depends on what he does in workouts and stuff in the future. We’ll see what happens. He might get better.”
Stephen Curry had 29 points and 12 assists, and Corey Maggette scored 31 points for the Warriors.
“We’ve been through a lot this year and it’s nice to feel good about ourselves a little bit down the stretch,” Curry said.
Anthony Morrow had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Tolliver fouled out with 12 points for the Warriors, who won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 6-8.
Bosh had 42 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the first time in four games. Jarrett Jack scored 19 points and Andrea Bargnani had 18 points and nine rebounds.
Curry shot just 3 for 9 from the field in the first half but went 7 for 14 after the break, scoring 15 in the final quarter.
Toronto trailed 101-86 with 8:04 remaining, but Jack scored nine points to bring the Raptors back and a driving layup by Sonny Weems made it 105-99 with 4:22 left.
After a Golden State timeout, Jack hit a jumper to make it 109-105 with 1:40 left. Ronny Turiaf missed two free throws but Bosh missed a hook shot at the other end. After Curry missed a jump shot, Jack made one of two from the line to make it 109-106 with 12 seconds to go.
Toronto fouled Curry and he missed both shots, giving the Raptors the ball with 10 seconds remaining. Golden State immediately put Jack on the line and he made both shots, making it 109-108.
The Warriors inbounded the ball to Maggette, who hit two free throws, making it 111-108 with 9 seconds left.
Hedo Turkoglu cut it to one with a pair of free throws, but Toronto’s defense fell asleep on the inbounds play, allowing the Warriors to get the ball upcourt, where Amir Johnson fouled Curry hard under the basket. Curry made both free throws, making it 113-110 with 3 seconds left.
Bosh made two free throws and the Warriors, with no timeouts left, struggled to get the ball in. Weems tapped Turiaf’s wayward pass to Bosh, but his shot rolled out as the buzzer sounded.
“Rony made a mistake by not running the baseline, which you’re allowed to do, and ended up with a bad angle,” Nelson said. “As a result, we made a crucial turnover, right where you don’t want to make one, right under the basket.”
Bosh said he didn’t get fouled on his final attempt, but acknowledged that he was rushing to get his shot off.
“Sonny made a spectacular play,” Bosh said. “Everything else just happened so fast. I really didn’t have time to react. I just wanted to get a shot up and I guess I missed it. I didn’t really get a good look at how it came off. It’s a tough break.”
Maggette said Golden State was fortunate Bosh didn’t get a better look.
“Nine times out of 10 he will make that shot,” Maggette said. “We got very lucky tonight.”
Turiaf joked that he threw the ball away on purpose to make the finish more memorable for Nelson.
“He was on the sideline just relaxing and stuff,” Turiaf said. “I wanted to make some excitement for him so that when he thinks about it 10 years down the road in his big mansion in Maui, he’ll be like ‘Man, that was a fun game.'”
Curry and Morrow combined for four of Golden State’s five 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Maggette had 12 points as the Warriors led 37-24 after one.
Johnson had two dunks as Toronto opened the second with a 14-4 spurt and fought back to make it 57-54 at the half.
Morrow made three more 3-pointers in the third and Curry scored six points, all of them in a 9-0 run that snapped a 70-all tie, as the Warriors took an 88-79 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: Nelson’s career record is 1,332-1,060. … Bosh topped 40 points for the ninth time in his career and the second time this season. … Warriors G Monta Ellis (flu) did not accompany the team to Toronto and is expected to miss the remaining two games on this road trip. … Bargnani’s 23 field goal attempts were a season high. … Toronto signed free agent F-C Joey Dorsey for the remainder of the season Sunday, but he did not arrive in time to dress for the game.
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