OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Don Nelson has fretted all season about the inevitable injury that he expected to strike one of his top players, worrying that it would cripple his team.

Instead, it motivated the club to reach new heights.

As Warriors co-captain Stephen Jackson watched from the bench, the same team that opened 0-6 without him turned in possibly its most impressive win of the season Wednesday, a 119-117 nailbiter over the Boston Celtics that wasn't secured until Baron Davis' step-back 20-footer with 0.3 seconds remaining.

"To do it without Stephen, it's a great win for us," said forward Al Harrington, one of four Warriors to go for more than 20 points. "We're a different team than we were in the beginning of the year. We're at the point where we can have guys miss games. We feel like we have enough guys that can pull their weight to step up and get big wins."

Davis finished with a team-high 29 points, six rebounds and six assists. Monta Ellis added to his growing body of superstar work with 26 points -- 12 in the fourth quarter -- and a season-high nine assists. And Harrington and Andris Biedrins each had a double-double in teaming up for 43 points and 25 rebounds.

The Celtics, however, enjoying the services of Kevin Garnett for only the second time since Jan. 25, had plenty of game.

Ray Allen, who lit up Golden State for 32 points on 11-for-17 shooting, drained a 3-pointer for a 103-96 Boston lead at the 6:15 mark.

But the Warriors staged their own comeback and built their lead to 116-113 with 58.5 seconds left on an Ellis jumper.

Davis missed one of two free throws with 34.4 seconds left to leave the door open, and Paul Pierce (23 points) converted a pair at the 28.7-second mark to make it 117-115 Warriors.

Boston chose not to foul despite only a four-second differential between the game and shot clocks, and was rewarded when Matt Barnes stormed the lane and whiffed on a reaching layup with 12 seconds to go.

Pierce got the benefit of the doubt at the other end -- Harrington being called for a blocking foul despite having appeared to plant himself in good position -- and knocked down two free throws with 6.5 seconds left for a 117-117 tie.

That left it up to Davis, and he coolly worked Tony Allen into position, then delivered the dagger.

"Magic (Johnson) was clutch," Garnett said. "Jerry West, he was clutch. (Pete) Maravich was clutch. Isiah (Thomas) was clutch. BD, he's right there."

Jackson's left ankle, which was originally hurt Feb. 9 against Sacramento, suffered more swelling over the All-Star break before giving way again Tuesday at Utah.

That opened a starting spot for Mickael Pietrus, who very publicly demanded a change of address last week, and he made the most of his final chance to showcase his talents before the trade deadline hits at noon today.

There were yet more rumors about Pietrus flying Wednesday -- the latest was an online report by Sports Illustrated that the Warriors talked to Toronto about getting guard Juan Dixon and forward Joey Graham in exchange for the fifth-year forward -- but no trade was imminent enough to require Pietrus to sit out, lest he hurt himself after the deal's completion.

"No news," said Bill McCandless, Pietrus' agent, who met with executive vice president Chris Mullin before the game to discuss his client's future. "Clock is ticking."

Pietrus played 37 minutes, tied for his highest total of the season, and finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

He brought a record-setting crowd of 20,711 to the brink of madness in the final minute of the third quarter, when he hammered down a putback dunk off a missed 3-pointer from Davis, then stripped Pierce and went coast-to-coast for another two-hand jam.

"MP had a great game and hopefully it'll get him going and he can help us the rest of the season," Jackson said. "Games like this give guys like that a chance to go and show what they can do and give them some confidence."

Contact Geoff Lepper at glepper@bayareanewsgroup.com.