ORACLE ARENA — Golden State gave their fans something to cheer about Tuesday night.
The crowd was hushed through three terrible quarters as the Warriors found themselves trailing by 27 at one point.
But the Warriors powered through an 18-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Raptors 112-103.
Warriors veteran center Jermaine O’Neal gave an inspiring halftime speech in the Warriors locker room, telling his team mates they were about to find out what they were made of.
O’Neal was pleased with the final outcome but more than disappointed with how the Warriors played throughout the first three quarters:
“Terrible. Unacceptable. Ridiculous. We should be ashamed of the way that we played. If we’re going to be a good team we shouldn’t have moments where we’re ashamed and down damn near 30.”
The Raptors took control midway through the first quarter, finishing out the frame on a 22-5 run including a last-second trey from Kyle Lowry to put Toronto up 36-19.
The Warriors attempted to chip away at the Raptors lead in the second quarter with aggressive offense, hitting 7-of-10 foul shots compared to just one made free throw in the first quarter.
Amir Johnson scored 10 of his 20 points and Toronto reserve Steve Novak hit three wide open three-pointers in the second quarter and headed to the locker room holding onto a 17-point lead at 65-48.
Coming out of halftime, the Warriors still couldn’t stop the Raptors. But coming out of a time out with 5:23 left in the third, Curry sent a lob to Bogut for the alley-oop.
The following two Warriors possessions were dagger passes to Bogut down low, but the Raptors held onto an 88-70 lead heading into the final quarter.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said it wasn’t one thing that put the team so far behind. It was everything:
“We were bad on both sides of the basketball. … The crowd got quiet and they were supposed to. We deserved for them to be quiet.”
Thompson opened the final quarter with his third three-pointer of the night. From that point, a litany of Warriors highlight plays allowed them to claw their way back into the game.
With 7:50 left to play Curry dished to Lee for a dunk that cut the Raptors’ lead to single digits at 94-86.
With just under five minutes left, Thompson hit from downtown again, then on the following Warriors possession, Curry hit a three to make it a one point game.
Curry hit another three with 2:59 left to take a 101-99 lead. Toronto tied on the next possession but the Warriors were full steam ahead from there.
Thompson made good on his sixth three-pointer at 2:27 to make the score 104-101, finishing the night with 22 points and seven assists. A Barnes three-pointer and free throws from Curry gave the Warriors the advantage for good.
Curry finished the game with 27 points and 10 assists, marking the first time in his career he’s posted consecutive games with 25-or-more points and 10 assists.
Raptors guard Lowry was disappointed after his team played a nearly perfect first three quarters of basketball. He finished with 20 points and nine assists, but hung his head talking about the shift in the game:
“It would have helped us if we got a stop but they just kept making every shot they took. And when they didn’t make it, they got rebounds.”
Thompson said that it was difficult to find a way to come back emotionally and be prepared to make a push in the fourth:
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult. Thankfully the games are 48 minutes and not 36. We’ve got to play good like that for 48 minutes, if we want to be a great team.”
Coach Jackson and most of the players were breathing a sigh of relief after the game, with smiles on their faces.
But O’Neal stayed stoic telling SFBay that while they came out with the win, the team needs to remember how bad they were through most of the game:
“This league has become a lot about what you are doing right, and not looking at what you’re doing wrong. If we don’t understand what we did wrong, we’re going to end up right back in that same position.”
The Warriors, now 11-8 overall, will practice Thursday morning before heading out on a three-game road trip with contests against Houston, Memphis and Charlotte.
The Warriors came back from a 27-point deficit outscoring the Raptors 42-15 in the fourth quarter. The comeback is their largest in 10 seasons and the largest in the NBA this season. … The Warriors came back from 18 down in the fourth quarter. They hadn’t had a comeback of more than 18 in the final quarter since Feb. 9, 1962 at Boston. … Golden State dished out 27 assists, its eighth game with 25-plus assists this season, going 7-1 in those games. … O’Neal totaled 11 points and eight rebounds (all in the second half) in 23 minutes off the bench for his third game scoring in double figures this season. Golden State is 3-0 when he reaches double digits.