OAKLAND -- The Warriors were collectively exhausted, but Stephen Curry delivered with 2.1 seconds to go and Golden State beat the Boston Celtics 99-97 on Friday night.
Curry stepped just inside the 3-point line to nail the go-ahead 23-footer, Boston's Gerald Wallace badly missed a 3 at the other end as time expired, and the Warriors exhaled with the victory.
Golden State won its 11th game in 12 tries in its first action since returning from a season-long seven-game trip.
"I know how tough it is coming off of a long road trip," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "These guys responded, and they did whatever they had to do to gut out a win against a team that had no quit."
There was no denying the Warriors struggled to maintain energy. They found some fire at the beginning of both halves but otherwise were fighting fatigue the whole night.
"We knew that we were playing on fumes, especially the starters that played a lot of minutes," forward David Lee said. "But we've got a break coming up, so we knew we just had to get through this one. I'm very proud of our guys for finding a way to win."
The Warriors' upcoming break is a much-needed one. They've got four days off before returning to action Wednesday at home against the Denver Nuggets.
"It'll be good for us," said Andre Iguodala, who led Golden State with 22 points. "But the next game is going to be just as tough as tonight with those many days off."
The Warriors trailed by two at halftime but went on a 14-5 run in the third quarter that was sparked by Curry's first two 3-pointers of the night.
The final 3½ minutes of the third was owned by Marreese Speights, who provided the best minutes off the bench for the struggling Warriors reserves. He went on a personal 7-0 run and scored nine straight for Golden State as it took a 72-67 lead into the fourth.
The Warriors extended the lead to double-digits for the first time early in the fourth when Curry connected on a four-point play. Iguodala followed with a steal and dunk that created the largest roars to that point as Golden State led 82-69.
That large advantage quickly evaporated. Boston scored nine straight points and eventually cut the lead to one on three occasions, but missed two opportunities to take the lead.
The Warriors' Harrison Barnes made one of two free throws with 20.2 left for a 97-95 lead, but Boston's Jeff Green tied the game with a running jumper with 11.6 seconds to go.
Golden State called timeout to advance to the frontcourt and inbounded to Curry. He dribbled before stepping just inside the 3-point line to nail the game-winner.
"We needed this one," Curry said. "Everybody knows it's tough to find your rhythm and bring the 100 percent energy you need after a long road trip like that, and we gutted it out. Didn't make many shots and then found a way to close it out at the end."
Jackson said O'Neal is "running and getting in as close to game shape as possible."
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Denver (18-17) at Warriors (25-14),
7:30 p.m. CSNBA, ESPN