Warriors stand together in huge OT win

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

VIDEO: Golden State guts out big overtime win in Dallas

DALLAS — Jermaine O’Neal will always be remembered most for his days as an Indiana Pacer. But now the 18-year veteran seeking one last shot at glory plays for the Golden State Warriors, a team that’s fought through injury and adversity, and down the pressure-packed stretch run just might be the antithesis of O’Neal’s fraying former club.

Starting at center once again Tuesday night for the injured Andrew Bogut in a game magnified by playoff implications for both the Warriors and Mavericks, O’Neal ripped Dallas for 20 points, eight rebounds and one massive, game-altering blocked shot. Late in the fourth quarter, Mavs guard Monta Ellis dunked over O’Neal to give Dallas a 102-97 lead and a wave of momentum in an arena buzzing with playoff-style excitement. This time, as Ellis tried to turn the corner, O’Neal made his move. He snared Ellis’ baseline fallaway with his right hand with 11.6 seconds to go in overtime, and in one motion brought it down and fed it out to Draymond Green, who got it to Stephen Curry, who ended it with a tough, contested jumper over Jose Calderon from the left wing with 0.1 seconds showing on the clock.

As time expired, the Warriors, rallying late in the fourth and again in overtime, celebrated the 122-120 victory as furious Mavs owner Mark Cuban, befuddled that no goaltending was called on O’Neal, engaged in an animated discussion with the referees.

“When he dunked it, I was a second slow, almost the same identical play,” O’Neal said. “This time, I’m understanding where I need to be and Klay [Thompson] did a great job on making him pick up his dribble and really it was just perfect timing. It was like a second away from goaltending, if you’re too late, and I was on top of it. I blocked it, grabbed it and outlet it. There’s no way they could have called that [goaltending].”

The victory, achieved in front of Warriors owner Joe Lacob — who is taking in the road tripdulled the pain of Sunday’s home loss to the New York Knicks. That defeat came on the heels of another dramatic victory, this time against a Memphis team that, like Dallas, is trying to not just make the playoffs but had the sixth-seeded (and David Lee-less) Warriors within their sights.

The margin for error in Tuesday’s game was as razor thin as the separation in the standings. A Dallas win would have moved them one-half game behind Golden State, who now head to San Antonio to grapple with the Spurs’ 18-game win streak. Instead, it’s the Mavs who slipped from seventh to out of the playoff picture in ninth, one-half game behind Memphis and Phoenix.

This one carried tremendous importance for the Mavs. They were just 4-3 heading into their final game of a franchise-long eight-game homestand. All three losses came down to the wire, two in overtime. This was one they simply had to have, but couldn’t get against a team that came in lacking frontcourt starters Lee and Bogut.

VIDEO: Dirk Nowitzki talks about the Mavs’ tough loss at home to the Warriors

“Heartbreaker,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who did all he could with 33 points and 11 rebounds.

The Warriors, feeding off a belief that many see them as down and out, found a different interpretation of a wild 53 minutes in Big D.

“This is late in the year and I have seen teams say how easy it is to let go of the rope,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “This is a team that’s not going to do it. Contrary to anything, we’re not going to do it. This is a quality win against a team  that had everything going their way and I’m proud of these guys. They deserve the credit.”

Jackson called his bunch a “tied-together team,” and emphasized, “I don’t think you need more evidence.”

Sharpshooter Klay Thompson, who had 27 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 1:01 to go in regulation, played up the Warriors’ unbreakable mindset.

“People think we’re down and out, it just proves we have a lot of basketball in us,” Thompson said. “We never hang our heads. We might have done that in the past, but this is a changed team. When we get those guys [Lee and Bogut] back, we’ll be even better.”

Said Curry on the heels of his second last-second game-winner against Dallas this season: “We understand that we lost some games that we should have won, but we don’t listen to any noise outside our locker room. For us, we understand we still control our own destiny. If we take care of our business we’ll be fine. So if we shut out all that noise, it’ll be the best situation for us.”

As the Warriors cleared out of the cramped visiting locker room, O’Neal, 35, hadn’t finished saying his piece, hadn’t finished putting this season, expected to be his final one, in perspective for himself, his team and everybody who follows it.

“So many people around us are trying to tear us apart,” O’Neal said. “I’ve never seen, even in your own town, so much adversity and so much negativity around a team that’s really striving to do special things. It baffles you a little bit, but it says a lot about our head coach, our staff, an organization that really supports us and keeps us in open arms. And it says a lot about these guys in this locker room who aren’t willing to let negativity tear us apart.

“We’re going to continue to try to learn and be a better team, continue to learn from our mistakes and I think tonight showed that we have a  lot of character on this team. We don’t have a lot of extended playoff experience, but we’re learning and we’re learning on the fly, and we’re fighting.

“We’re fighting for ourselves, we’re fighting for our coach, we’re fighting for our city, we’re fighting for our organization.”

VIDEO: The Warriors bask in their big win in Dallas


  1. okc2014 says:

    2 subpar teams.

  2. DD says:

    Everyone’s talking about goaltending, but honestly, was I the only one who saw Dirk foul Klay on that drive with 34 seconds left? If the Warriors had those free throws, the game would’ve been done in regulation

  3. Tito says:

    How was that block by Jermaine not goal-tending? On slow replay you can see the ball stop going up right after which O’Neal swipes it out the air. That was just a bad no-call. Would it have gone it? Possibly, possibly not by rimming out. Who knows. However, at the end of the day, Curry’s shot was absolutely disgusting to seal it. It would have been cool to see him take an actual three to win the game had they called goal-tending beforehand. Good game for Golden State, though. Sad loss for Dallas who is at the bottom contending for a playoff spot.

  4. gaco says:

    goaltending or not (which seemed pretty close to me) this game was all in favor of the Mavs from the refs point of view. Warriors got nearly cero calls in the second half. Heck, even the broadcasting commentators sighed with relief when a foul was finally called on the Mavs midway through the 4th quarter, after the refs had continually missed a ton of calls. And we all know Dirk fouled Klay on that last drive in regulation, and the game could’ve been decided right then and there with those free throws. So that being said, although i don’t like makeup calls, it was only fair that the refs overlooked a very tough goal tend call, because this game was supposed to be done in regulation. Enough said

  5. peep says:

    Goal tending

  6. killa13 says:

    …. with replay that was CLEARLY a goaltend. That the refs didn’t check it is sad…. This point should have gone to Dallas…

  7. Jimmy Buckets says:

    Can everyone shut up about the goaltend? First off, it was very close. Secondly, the Warriors didn’t shoot a free throw the ENTIRE SECOND HALF. If the refs made the right call th Warriors would’ve won in the 4th quarter. Jesus christ.

  8. The Q says:

    Yes, maybe it was goaltending by O’neal, but at the end of regulation Nowitzki clearly fouled Klay at a crucial moment and it wasn’t called as well.That’s basketbal, bad calls go either way.

  9. thespectator says:

    curry is a sick shooter

  10. Mavs got robbed with that O’Neal goaltending.

  11. one word: Goaltending

  12. #30 says:

    Close call, breaks of the game for Dubnation.

  13. jake s. says:

    Im rooting warriors over clippers!

  14. Zac says:

    O’Neals Block in OT with 10secs to go against Ellis was GOALTENDING. You can see it totally clear if you look at the tape.

  15. Jay Gee says:

    I hate to say that but the O’Neal block wasn’t regular.It was a goaltending,the ball was in its downward flight.How the referees didn’t saw that.There have been a lot a mistakes all season long.Really hope the refs will be more consistent when the playoffs will begin.The destiny of a game shouldn’t be ruled by a referee’s decision.