Stephen Curry put on a show with 39 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists Sunday night at Barclays Center, but after he fouled out with three minutes left, it was the other “Splash Brother,” Klay Thompson, who delivered big-time after the Nets cut a 28-point Golden State lead to four. Thompson hit a top-of-the-key jumper and a three-pointer with 1:29 left that pushed the Warriors’ lead to eight, and they held on for a 118-111 victory.
The notion of coming all the way back from 28 points down seemed impossible, especially when the Warriors pushed their margin back to 16 early in the fourth quarter. But point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, assisted on three baskets by rookie center Jarrett Allen and added two free throws as the Nets pulled within 104-96 on Allen’s layup with 6:43 left in the game.
When Dinwiddie hit a right-wing three-pointer with 4:55 left to cut it to 105-99, the Barclays crowd erupted. After DeMarre Carroll made one of two foul shots with 2:38 left, the Nets were within four at 107-103. But that was as close as they got despite a pair of threes by Allen Crabbe in the final two minutes.
Asked to explain what clicked for the Nets (6-10) in the second half, coach Kenny Atkinson said, “Our spirit. I really can’t explain what happened in the first half. Granted, [the Warriors] are a great team, but I thought we were kind of frozen by the moment. The second half, we competed much better. I thought Jarrett Allen came in and gave us a guy that could roll to the rim, and that opened it up a little bit for us.”
Thompson finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. The Warriors (13-4) shot 51.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range (10-for-24). Crabbe led the Nets with 25 points, including 6-for-11 shooting from three-point range.
Dinwiddie had 21 points and eight assists, and the Nets got double-doubles from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Carroll (15 points, 11 rebounds).
The Nets caught a break when Warriors star forward Kevin Durant sat out with an ankle injury suffered Saturday night in Philadelphia. But that just meant more shots for Curry and Thompson, and the Nets’ offense went south with Dinwiddie limited by fouls to 10 first-half minutes.
“I can’t deny it,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie’s fouls. “It definitely hurt us a little bit.”
But the Nets rallied, scoring a season-high 42 points in the third quarter and a season-high 69 in the second half. They shot a franchise-record 48 three-pointers, going 10-for-26 from beyond the arc in the second half to get back in the game.
“I thought we made shots,” Dinwiddie said. “We went a little bit more up-tempo and we got to the free-throw line [making 27 of 39]. That put them on their heels and flipped the foul trouble onto them.”
A loss is a loss, but the Nets believe their comeback against the world champions gave them something to build on before traveling to Cleveland to face the Eastern Conference champs Wednesday.
“It was our resiliency, our grit, toughness . . . playing our game and having fun doing it,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “That got us over the hump. It felt good to be out there doing that. The outcome wasn’t as we expected, but we’ve got to give ourselves credit for that second half.”