OAKLAND, Calif. - Mark Jackson looked up the scoreboard during a timeout late in the fourth quarter and couldn't be happier to find his team in another close game.
The final result had the rookie coach smiling even more.
Stephen Curry scored a season-high 32 points and added seven assists and six rebounds, and the Warriors extended their recent home dominance against Portland with a 101-93 victory Wednesday night to redeem a recent string of fourth-quarter collapses and last-second blunders.
"I think it's just what the doctor ordered," said Jackson, whose Warriors are 6-11. "No sense in running away with a win. We need to learn how to win close games."
At least for a night, they finally did.
David Lee had 26 points and five rebounds, and Brandon Rush scored 14 points in relief to give Golden State its 12th win in the last 13 meetings at home against Portland. The Warriors also snapped a three-game losing streak and beat a Western Conference opponent for the first time this season after an 0-6 start.
"We weren't stressing about it," Curry said. "It wasn't like we were sitting around the last couple days wondering what to do. We knew that we could close out games if we take care of the ball and execute the way we know we can."
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum added 16 points each for Portland, which finished a stretch of three games in three nights at 2-1.
The Warriors made a season-best 11 three-pointers.
"They had some really good stretches. In the third quarter was when they really put us on our heels," Crawford said. "It's easy to get seduced into their style."
The Warriors wore down a tired Blazers team late with a fast pace and the kind of defence Jackson has preached since taking over the historically offensive-oriented franchise.
Dorell Wright had a pair of dunks and Curry made a three-pointer to highlight a 16-5 spurt between the third and fourth quarters that put the Warriors ahead 85-75 and seemingly in complete control for another home victory.
Instead, Golden State almost added to its string of recent collapses. After blowing a 20-point lead in a loss at Memphis on Monday night, the Warriors had to hold on in the final minutes.
The Blazers whittled the Warriors' lead to 91-88 on Jamal Crawford's free throws with a little less than five minutes to play. Then Monta Ellis, held to only four points but with 12 assists, made a fadeaway and Curry followed with a short jumper to push Golden State back in front by seven to send Portland home with another Bay Area bust.
Curry's surge was a welcome sign for a Warriors team that desperately needs its young franchise player to return to form after missing eight games with a recurring sprain on his surgically repaired right ankle. In only his third game back, the sharp-shooting Curry offset a slow offensive output from his backcourt teammate.
"He ran the point position and that's with scoring 32 points," Jackson said. "He got what he wanted."
And made the Blazers' blistering start simply disappear.
Showing no signs of team playing its third game in as many nights, Portland pulled away with a combination of easy fast-break layups and offensive rebounds. The Blazers took a 22-12 lead before many fans at Oracle Arena even took their seats.
Fatigue finally caught up to Portland when it mattered most.
Rush came off the bench to spark sluggish Golden State, making back-to-back three-pointers to highlight a 12-1 run that put the Warriors ahead 24-23 late in the first quarter.
Neither side created much separation the rest of the half.
There were six lead changes and eight ties before the break, with Portland in front 53-48 after shooting 51.3 per cent from the field. Golden State shot 44.7 per cent in the first half.
"As a team, we did not play well. As a unit, we need to play better," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We're not going to single anybody out. There are some things that we all needed to do better."
Notes: Warriors coach Mark Jackson was a teammate of Blazers F Kurt Thomas and C Marcus Camby for 1 1/2 seasons when they played for the New York Knicks from 2000-02. ... Former rapper and Oakland native MC Hammer was in attendance. ... Golden State was 3-1 against Portland last season and has not lost the season series since 2002-03, when the Blazers completed a 4-0 sweep.
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