Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/19/12
OAKLAND -- First there was the six-win road trip. Now the Golden State Warriors seem to be earning the respect of the referees. Maybe there indeed is something special going on with the Warriors this season. Nine free throws, three of which resulted from disputed calls, accounted for all but two of the points in an 11-4, game-finishing run that rescued Golden State on Tuesday. The Warriors escaped with a 103-96 win over the New Orleans Hornets. The Warriors, playing their first home game after a franchise-best 6-1 road trip, rallied after blowing a 12-point lead in the final period. "Everybody in that locker room, we're on the same mind-set. We're all about winning," first-year Warrior Carl Landry said of his team, which improved to 17-8. "It doesn't matter where we're at: at home, on the road, film session ... whatever it is, we all have a winning mentality." On this night, they also had a winning touch from the foul line, outscoring the visitors 29-17 from the stripe. The Warriors held a 9-0 advantage at the foul line after Hornets rookie Anthony Davis converted a Greivis Vasquez assist into a three-point play that tied the game at 92 with 4:07 to go. Not bad for a team that entered the night having been outscored by 38 points at the line this season, following years of complaining about getting the short end of the whistle from the referees. "One of the hardest games to play in the NBA is the first game back home after a road trip and getting back on West Coast time," said Warriors forward David Lee, whose 26-point night was his ninth game in a row with 20 or more. "It definitely had the possibility to be a letdown game, but we avoided that at the end." The free-throw discrepancy certainly played its part. The Warriors had only one field goal (compared to New Orleans' seven) in the final 7:15, but that was enough when combined with the late foul shots, six of which came from Jarrett Jack. Golden State's final field goal was a 16-footer by Stephen Curry with 2:18 left. "If you want to be a good team in this league," Jack said, "you have to defend home court." In coming up just short for the second time in three nights to begin their West Coast swing while seeing their overall losing streak reach eight, the Hornets weren't complaining about the officiating afterward. However, they sure were as the action unfolded. Golden State caught its first big break after Jack sank two free throws to put the home team back on top 94-92 with 3:25 to go. The Hornets (5-19) appeared to have tied the game on another Vasquez dish to Davis under the basket for a dunk, but the New Orleans point guard was deemed to have traveled before making the pass. He threw his hands up in disbelief when it occurred, but he took a higher road following the game. "Refs are human beings. They make mistakes," he said after a 20-point, 11-assist performance. "The refs weren't the reason we lost the game." Curry's jumper and two more Jack free throws made it a six-point game before Vasquez dropped in what turned out to be the game's final hoop with 1:19 left. The Warriors were then able to ice the game from the line, getting the benefit of two calls that could have been ruled offensive fouls on Lee and Jack. Instead, they went to the line for two free throws apiece, with Lee making one and Jack two for a seven-point cushion with 31.3 seconds to play. "We're getting close," Davis said following a 15-point, 16-rebound outing. "We keep chipping away, chipping away. But it's hard to chip." Lee hit 10 of his 16 shots from the field, but his nine rebounds left him one shy of completing an eighth consecutive 20/10 game. Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors despite 5-for-15 shooting, and Jack had 16 points and 10 assists. Reserve forward Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 28 points, almost half of which came on 4-for-14 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. NOTES: The game was the Warriors' first at home since Dec. 3. They followed that 102-94 loss to Orlando with a 6-1 record on an 11-day trek through the Eastern time zone. The only loss on the trip was also to the Magic. ... The Warriors took the Oracle Arena court Tuesday having played only nine home games, the second fewest in the league to Denver's seven. They'd played 15 road games, matching two others for the third most in the league. ... Hornets coach Monty Williams, whose team entered Tuesday's game with a 2-8 road mark, had a hard time fathoming Golden State's 6-1 trip, labeling it "maybe the best road trip of any team in the league this season." ... Lee, who averaged 22.8 points and 12.5 rebounds over the final four games of the trip last week, was honored as the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week. Lee had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in all seven games of the trip, becoming the first player to record that distinction on a trip of seven or more games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accomplished the feat on a nine-game trip in 1972 ... With the Hornets coming off a one-point loss at Portland on Sunday, Williams made two lineup changes, promoting Davis and small forward Lance Thomas from the bench to replace Anderson and Al-Farouq Aminu. "It's where he's going to be," Williams said of moving Davis, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft, back into the starting five for the first time since he returned from an ankle injury Dec. 11. ... Assessing the team's overall record and losing streak, Williams admitted, "I gotta coach better. It's not always players. The guys are trying."
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