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OAKLAND – There was a sliver of time, after they had reduced their turnovers but before center Andrew Bogut limped out of view, when it was fairly easy to identify the Warriors' single greatest need.
They were aching for a reliable shooter off the bench.
A marksman who could come in and do what Mike Miller once did for the Heat, what Marco Belinelli does for the Spurs and Jamal Crawford does for the Clippers.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers revealed four weeks ago that he had sniffed around the Ray Allen camp. Did one of the best shooters ever still want to play? Would he consider coming to Oakland? Nothing materialized. Nothing is imminent.
The Warriors won't dismiss Allen, who would be terrific behind sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But they quietly believe they'll be OK anyway.
They're pleased, almost giddy, with the development of Justin Holiday.
"I see increased confidence in his game," Myers said Tuesday. "You know, there's confidence in the Summer League. And there's confidence in the D-League. But being confident on an NBA floor is different. He was a confident D-League player. He then became a confident Summer League player. And now we're seeing signs of a confident NBA player."
Holiday earned a roster spot with his work during the Las Vegas Summer League and in the preseason. The University of Washington product earned minutes in mid-December with his work during and after practice. On Dec. 22 he officially displaced Leandro Barbosa as the primary backup to Thompson.
"I love having (Barbosa) on the team; he's the first guy off the bench to cheer for his teammates," coach Steve Kerr said. "Right now, it's just Justin's time. I've given him the chance and he's made the most of it."
Holiday, 25, went undrafted after leaving the University of Washington in 2011. He immediately went to Belgium, then returned to the states and hooked up with the D-League Idaho Stampede. He played in Hungary. He has been signed and waived by, clear your throat, the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers and the 76ers and the Jazz.
Signed 11 months ago to the Santa Cruz Warriors, Holiday has made his way to the league. At 6-foot-6, 185 pounds, he was the only non-roster player invited to camp that managed to stick with the Warriors.
And now Holiday is working his way from the far end of the bench. After averaging about two minutes per game through the first 25 games this season, the younger brother of Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has averaged 18 over the last seven and has scored in double figures four times.
"The first thing I focus on is defense," Holiday said. "I can control my defensive effort. I hate getting scored on. On the offensive end, I just want to stay confident. I'm always confident when I take my shot. I want to be aggressive. With Steph and Klay and Andre (Iguodala), playing with those guys makes everything easier."
Shooting 50 percent from the floor, including 42.3 percent from 3-point range, during that seven-game stretch, Holiday is fulfilling the prophecy of the Jerry West, the legend and board member who advises the team on personnel matters.
West pulled me aside last month in L.A., pointed across the room to Holiday, and said to "keep an eye on that kid." West raved about Holiday's ability to shoot and defend, as well as his character.
And, yes, Holiday recalled the chatter about Allen. He took it in stride. When you've taken such a treacherous path to the league, you never get too comfortable.
"First of all, you could understand – that's Ray Allen," he said. "You can't be mad at that. Another thing, I have to keep working anyway. Maybe Ray Allen could come in here and teach me something. I don't know how serious things were, but hearing is no different from before, when I was getting cut from teams and dealing with that."
Myers would not say the Warriors have lost interest in Allen. Roster evaluation is constant, he said. He conceded, however, that they've gained faith in Holiday, who happens to play the same position at a considerably lower salary.
"His progression has been a very positive thing for us," Myers said, measuring his words. "That was a void, a shooter off the bench. And so if he can continue at this rate, stay consistent, it might alleviate that concern."
Though Allen would be a splashy addition to the Warriors want for the postseason, Holiday is rapidly becoming a splashy compliment to what they have.