for this game

Jackson sparks Warriors to huge comeback win

Feb 12, 2008 - 7:58 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The Golden State Warriors found a way to win a game they needed to and kept pace with the Houston Rockets.

Stephen Jackson scored 16 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors came back from a 23-point second-quarter deficit and hung on to beat the Washington Wizards, 120-117, on Monday night.

"Its the growth of this team," Jackson said. "I think last year we'd get down, and we don't keep our composure but the biggest thing was we came in at halftime and we knew if we could come back down from 20 (points), it'll be at home. And I think we just went out with a defensive mindset, along with making shots, and it's hard for us to lose."

Monta Ellis added 22 points and Al Harrington added 21 off the bench for the Warriors (31-20), who have won two of their last three games. Their win keeps them tied with the Rockets (31-20) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Our fans make it feel like it's the playoffs, too," Harrington said. "So, we realize we're the eighth seed and we're 11 games over .500. That's incredible. I've never ever heard of that before in my life. So we've got to keep fighting. We're fighting for our lives every time we step out there."

Roger Mason, playing in place of the injured Gilbert Arenas, scored a career-high 32 points and dished off six assists for the Wizards, who have lost eight in a row.

"It stinks that it's all for nothing," Mason said. "We were desperate tonight. We should have won. It's very tough to shake off (this loss). We played well the whole game but we knew they could come back. They're a team that makes runs."

Matt Barnes with a one-handed slam off a pass from Davis got the Warriors within seven points to start the fourth.

After a turnaround jumper by Ellis, it was briefly a five-point game. Rookie Nick Young made a layup and a free throw with 8:15 to play, giving Washington a nine-point lead.

Another uncontested layup by Young made it an 11-point lead before Jackson answered with a 3-pointer.

Golden State would again whittle the lead to six points before a pair of free throws by Young. Andris Biedrins again got it to a two-possession game with a tip-in with 4:02 to play.

Ellis made an off-balance running jump shot but missed the ensuing free throw, and it was a four-point game with 2:28 to play.

Jackson got fouled on a fast-break layup and his two free throws cut Washington's lead to 113-111 with 2:03 left. The Warriors had a chance to tie or take their first lead, but Jackson missed a long jumper and Davis' 3-point attempt hit the back iron.

Jackson got fouled again on another layup attempt and made one free throw. He missed the second and Harrington kept the rebound alive and Biedrins gathered it in and handed it to Jackson at the top of the key.

Wide open, Jackson made a 3-pointer to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, 115-113, with 55 seconds to go.

Jackson made two more from the line, and it was a four-point Warriors' lead with 22 seconds to play. The Wizards called time, and Mason quickly made a running jumper and then Washington promptly fouled Jackson.

After two more from the line, Mason made another layup and, again, Jackson was fouled.

This time, Jackson made only 1-of-2, and it was a three-point Warriors lead with 8.5 seconds to play. DeShawn Stevenson tried a 3-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer, but he missed and the Warriors escaped with the victory.

"We had a chance to tie it up at the end, but yeah, we let it slip away," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "I don't know if we let it slip away, that may be a bad choice of words. I just thought that they put the pressure on us, drove to the basket, made threes, made plays, made shots. They're a good team and I'm proud of the way we played, very proud."

The Wizards led by 11 points with 6:57 remaining, but the Warriors outscored them, 26-12, for the final margin of victory.

"All I can tell you is what a difference between the first and second half," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "We tended to business and still were lucky to get the win. To be quite honest we dodged another bullet and we'll just take it and not dissect it too much.

"A terrible first half, not much energy. Great energy in the second half. We just got lucky and made shots at the right time."

The Warriors, who trailed virtually the entire game, used a 10-0 run at the start of the third quarter and trailed by just 10 points after a 3-pointer by Davis. The Wizards got defensive rebounds off Warriors' misses and easy layups to maintain a sizable advantage.

The Wizards were up by 23 after a 3-pointer by Mason with 4:20 remaining. Washington had all but two points from its starters in the first half and led 72-55 at the break.

"Frankly, any team in the league can come back from 20 points," Jordan said. "I don't care what record you have or what personnel you have, you can come back from a 20-point lead, especially that early in the game, especially at home. So I don't think the game was over by any means when we had the lead."

The Wizards jumped out to a 12-point lead after the Warriors committed six turnovers in the first six minutes, resulting in 11 points by the Wizards.

The Wizards made it a 16-point lead after former Warrior Antawn Jamison made a 3-pointer and was fouled, completing a four-point play. Both teams were tied 8-8 when Washington reeled off a 24-5 run to take a 19-point lead.

The Warriors were 3-of-5 from the arc in the first quarter but trailed the Wizards, 37-22.

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