DALLAS -- In the grand scheme of things, especially considering what Golden State has been through, the Warriors' 103-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night was a step in the right direction.

Playing their second game in as many nights and without one of their best players in injured Andre Iguodala, the Warriors showed more guts than they did during any stretch of their three-game losing streak last week.

To be sure, they didn't play well. Their performance was sloppy on both ends. Still, Golden State mustered enough scrappiness to make it close, nearly stealing one late.

And no, they're not above moral victories.

The Dallas Mavericks’ Jose Calderon (8) goes for the steal against the Golden State Warriors’ David Lee (10) in the first half at the American
The Dallas Mavericks' Jose Calderon (8) goes for the steal against the Golden State Warriors' David Lee (10) in the first half at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. (Brad Loper/Dallas Morning News/M)

"That's the positive note," coach Mark Jackson said. "We didn't play well. We were careless, and we didn't pay attention to detail on either side of the basketball. We just were not sharp. That being said ... I thought we showed a lot of fight. But we have to bottle what we did during that span and start doing it for 48 minutes."

Signs of resiliency doesn't change fact that Golden State has lost four of five heading into Friday's showdown with Oklahoma City, which assuredly remembers the heart-breaking loss at Oracle Arena earlier this month. But it does bode well for their chances of working towards the top of the Western Conference.


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Including Tuesday's win at New Orleans, it seems -- Warriors fans, cross your fingers now -- Golden State has gotten over the listless, uninspired play that caused last week's three-game skid. They were bullied by visiting Memphis, outhustled by the Lakers in Los Angeles and crumbled down the stretch at home against Portland.

No doubt, that's something Golden State is thankful for.

"I'm proud of the way we fought," Stephen Curry said after totaling 29 points, eight assists, four rebounds and six turnovers. "This is a learning process. On these long road trips, these tough stretches, we must stay together."

Wednesday, the Warriors got down double-digits several times. Each time, they found a way to get back within victory's reach.

The Mavericks led by 17 in the second quarter, but Golden State trimmed it to nine by half. Dallas' lead got as high as 11 in the third quarter, the Warriors trimmed it to four, and the Mavericks replenished it to 11 entering the fourth. Golden State trimmed its hole to six, then gave up a 12-1 run to fall behind by 17 again.

"You can't go on the road against a good basketball team and give them extra possessions," Jackson said of the Warriors' 19 turnovers leading to 30 Dallas points. "That's not who we are, and that's not the way we're built. We turned it over, and we paid the price."

The Warriors were down 99-82 at the 4:56 mark of the fourth quarter, after a steal and a fastbreak dunk by Mavericks big man DeJuan Blair. It looked as if Golden State were done.

Instead, the defense turned up a notch.

Dallas went scoreless over the next 3:57, allowing the Warriors to chisel away the lead. Guard Klay Thompson, who finished with 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, started the run with a 3-pointer. With just over three minutes left, the Warriors got a four-point possession -- a technical free throw by Curry followed by a Thompson 3 -- to cut the Mavericks' lead to 99-93.

Curry followed with a jumper at the 2:34 mark to cut it to four and prompting a Dallas timeout.

Golden State had its chances to at least tie. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki missed a jumper over David Lee, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. But Thompson forced a jumper over smaller Mavericks guard Shane Larkin, clanking it off the front rim. After another stop, Thompson airballed a rushed look at a 3.

The Mavericks answered with Monta Ellis, the former Warriors' star, driving the lane and setting up a Samuel Dalembert dunk.

Down 101-95 with 1:21 left, Curry drew a foul and converted the free throws. The deficit was still four when Lee followed a Nowitzki jumper with two free throws with 46.2 seconds left.

Golden State got a stop on a missed jumper by Ellis, but Curry lost control of the ball, squandering away seconds. With nine seconds left, Draymond Green had his desperate attempt at a 3 blocked by Dalembert.

"It's tough to make that run and get over that hump," Curry said, "if you have to keep doing it over and over again."

For more on the Warriors, go to Marcus Thompson's blog at www.ibabuzz.com/warriors. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/gswscribe.

FRIDAY'S GAME

Warriors (9-7) at Oklahoma City (10-3),
5 p.m. CSNBA