The Warriors like their chances with the ball in Monta Ellis' hands and the score tied in the final seconds.
That scenario went horribly wrong Friday night.
Ellis was picked clean by the Indiana Pacers' George Hill as he attempted a drive to the basket. Hill raced in for a layup, was fouled and converted a three-point play with 1.8 seconds left.
Just like that, the Warriors were left to digest a 94-91 loss -- one that left coach Mark Jackson steamed on several fronts.
Replays appeared to show Hill kick the ball right after knocking it free from Ellis. The referees ruled it unintentional and let play continue rather than blow the whistle.
"The referees felt it wasn't intentional, obviously it was," Jackson said. " ... This is just a missed call."
But the Warriors can blame themselves for a performance that included just 18 teamwide assists and 18 turnovers, not to mention soft inside play against Danny Granger (26 points), David West (18 points) and Roy Hibbert (16 rebounds).
The loss spoiled the return of point guard Stephen Curry from an eight-game absence, not to mention the opener of the Warriors' six-game homestand.
"At the end of the day, I don't blame the referees," Jackson said. "We've got to be a better basketball team than we've been. That's just not gonna cut it."
Curry, cleared to return from a sprained right ankle, showed early rust and finished with 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting. He did heat up late, scoring seven straight Warriors points down the stretch of a game that featured an NBA season-high 25 lead changes.
Then Ellis (25 points) rattled off six straight Warriors points, including a runner in the lane with 45.9 seconds left that tied it 91-91.
After a timeout on the other end, Golden State got a stop to set up the last-second dramatics.
Jackson opted not to call timeout and give Indiana a chance to set its defense.
"It's a good play," Curry said. "Monta's strength is using his speed to get to the basket. I think we could use a little more movement, so they don't know what's going to happen."
Curry had an open look on a deep 3-pointer as time expired but was badly off-target.
The Warriors proceeded with caution with Curry, who has endured recurring problems with his ankle all season. He said his ankle felt good enough to play five or six days ago, but he was held out to give it extra rest.
It wasn't determined he would play Friday until about 90 minutes before tipoff, after Curry passed a series of tests to measure the strength in his ankle.
Curry said he was happy to come away with his ankle feeling strong.
As for Hill, the Pacers' hero, he had watched film of Ellis' last-second shot that had beaten Indiana nearly one year to the day Friday.
"What goes around sometimes comes around," Hill said.
"My emotions are pretty high and positive," Rush said during Friday's shootaround. "I don't have any grudge against them. It's a business, and that's how I look at it. I'm happy with where I am right now, so I've got no complaints."
Rush, who scored six points Friday, has quickly established himself as a key man off the bench for Golden State.
"We loved Lou and what he did for us," Curry said. "But as a (small forward) who can come off the bench and be instant offense, and defensively be long and athletic, it allows us to have more depth at that position on the defensive end."
Amundson came in averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for Indiana. He had no points and one rebound in five minutes of action Friday.
"We have a great stretch," Jackson said. "We're at home. They're not 'gimme' games, but we can really put together a heck of a run right now, and it starts with taking care of business on a nightly basis before you can look at it in a chunk. We're not good enough to look at it in a chunk yet."