Stephen Curry’s tweet just more than three hours prior to tip-off may as well have been a rescue alarm.
Just two words: “Lock in!”
Curry has made a tradition of posting the short phrase prior to each game, however it had gone missing since he sprained his right ankle during shootaround on Wednesday morning.
The social media drop from the Warriors’ star signaled his return as the Warriors snapped a three-game losing streak with a 116-112 road win against the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday.
While the return of Curry may have been the headline, it was his backup, Jarrett Jack, who made the difference late in the game.
Golden State trailed in the game’s final minute before Jack’s steal led to a foul on the fast break and two free throws to tie the game at 110-110 with 52 seconds remaining.
After a stop and a time out, it was Jack who answered with a teardrop runner to give the Warriors a 112-110 lead with 31 seconds remaining.
“That’s just a testament to our teammates,” Jack said. “Those guys being the threat that they are allowed me to get into the lane.”
Jack, who played with the Hornets last season, scored seven points in the final minutes to earn Golden State the victory. Jack finished with 25 points and added 12 assists. Klay Thompson scored a game-high 29 points.
While Curry returned from his ankle injury, David Lee did not play due to a sprained left ankle suffered in the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
Curry scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and had seven assists on the night.
“I can’t say enough about Step,” Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said. “Probably shouldn’t have played, but he wanted to be part of this. He understood that we were shorthanded; we sat and talked to him, that’s how All-Stars perform.”
Curry played more guarded on the recovering ankle, but he appeared to move fine throughout the game. Jackson discussed the decision to play Curry:
“I just wanted to make sure that no damage can be done,” Jackson said. “When I watched him workout beforehand, Bob (Myers) and I sat and talked with him, we felt very comfortable.
“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t overuse him, so I was trying to give him breathers. But it’s enticing to keep him out there; it’s awfully tough as a coach to keep him on the bench for a long period of time. He’ just a tough, tough kid and he played big for us tonight.”
Wealth of scoring
Without Lee, the Warriors relied on depth with six players in double-figures. In the first half, Thompson scored 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting but he took just three shots in the second half to finish with 29 points.
The Warriors shot 49 percent from the field, including 10-for-22 (45.5 percent) from three-point range.
Carl Landry, who played with Jack last season in New Orleans, started in his first game of the season for the Warriors and recorded his fourth double-double this season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Festus Ezeli logged 30 minutes and tallied 13 points and eight rebounds.
Curry’s biggest moment may have come with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter. The Warriors trailed 102-95 at that point and, after Festus Ezeli missed a six-footer, the momentum looked as if it may swing completely in the Hornets’ favor.
Instead, Curry pulled the offensive rebound, and on that same possession was fouled on a drive and hit two free throws to cut the Hornets’ lead to five points.
Curry then came up with a steal on the next possession before going being fouled at the basket and making both free throws to cut the deficit to 102-99.
Later, it was Curry’s three-pointer with just more than five minutes to play capped a 9-0 Warriors’ run and give the Warriors a 104-102 lead.
The Warriors had to be hot, as New Orleans shot 57 percent from the floor, led by 23 points from Eric Gordon. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds.
The Warriors had lost five of six games, playing a Hornets team that has won five of their last six.
“They have a lot of weapons and they’re arguably one of the hottest teams in the league,” Jack said.
The early plotline
The Warriors led by as many as 16 points and were up 67-57 at halftime But the Hornets opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and led 89-85 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets shot 63.3 percent through the first three quarters including 8-for-15 from three-point range. The Warriors shot 61.4 percent through the first half but shot just 31 percent in the third quarter.
“The thing I am most proud of, we didn’t hang our heads even when things weren’t going our way,” Jackson said.
Who is that guy?
Proof of complete depth on Saturday night, Richard Jefferson was asked to play a bigger role and scored a season-high 11 points in 18 minutes. Jefferson finished with a two-handed, reverse dunk from the baseline in the first half.
The 32-year-old veteran, whose previously season-high 10 points came in 12 minutes on Nov. 14 against Atlanta, entered the night averaging just 3.1 points.
@jetsetpete: “Who reanimated Richard Jefferson's corpse? #warriorstalk”
Now that’s dedication
@gallagherkyle : “It's 3 a.m. in the UK I cannot stay up for another defeat! Come on Warriors! #warriorstalk”