The shooting stars' fourth-quarter scoring duel had turned an early-January game between two losing teams into an unlikely thriller, with both putting up 15 points in the final period with a succession of stunning shots -- but Crawford's last basket loomed largest in a much-needed win for his Warriors.
Crawford scored 32 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left in a pell-mell fourth quarter, and Golden State snapped its five-game losing streak with a 120-117 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.
The final minutes were a sublime exchange between Granger and Crawford, who hit four 3-pointers and didn't miss any of his eight free throws. Granger, who scored 15 of his career high-tying 42 points for Indiana in the fourth quarter, went 14-for-14 from the free throw line and added seven rebounds.
Granger hit a 3-pointer that put the Pacers up 117-116 with 23.8 seconds left in a wild final period that had 12 lead changes, but Crawford replied with a shot that barely got over Granger's defense. After burying it, Crawford blew on his cocked index fingers, tucking them into imaginary holsters on the way back down the court.
"He was right there, and I thought if I took a dribble, I would mess up my rhythm," Crawford said, still grinning at the memory. "I was already locked in at that point. We were going to win or lose with that shot."
Granger didn't even get a chance to reply: He was a spectator as Mike Dunleavy and Travis Diener missed 3-pointers for Indiana in the final seconds, sealing the Pacers' third loss in four stops on their five-game West Coast road trip.
"I thought we had it," said Granger, whose Pacers lost a two-point game to the Lakers on Friday. "It was very frustrating, but that's kind of been the way we've lost games. ... We know we're right there. We just need a stop to win the game, and we're not doing it right now."
Kelenna Azubuike added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors, hitting a free throw with 5.6 seconds left as road-weary Golden State opened a seven-game homestand with its first victory since Dec. 29.
Granger scorched Golden State for 41 points in Indianapolis last month, and he was even better in the rematch -- but the Pacers' biggest shot was curiously taken with 6 seconds left by Dunleavy, the reviled former Warriors forward whose horrific miss off the side of the backboard capped his 4-for-14 performance.
Coach Jim O'Brien said Dunleavy's shot was by design.
"We had run three straight [plays] for Danny, so we tried a handoff to Mike," O'Brien said. "We have to learn how to defend at some point in our lives. We're not defending well enough to win these close games. We had the opportunities, and we didn't get it done. We're not defending anybody."
After Azubuike's free throw, Granger passed to Diener, who had an open 3-pointer to tie it -- but he also missed badly.
"Their best 3-point shooter, at the buzzer, rhythm shot -- you can't wish for anything more than that," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "I'll bet [Diener] hits six out of 10 of those, but the force was with us, so we'll just take it and not worry too much about it."
Starting with Granger's go-ahead jumper with 3:43 left, the teams exchanged 11 straight scoring possessions which either resulted in a tie or a lead change. After Crawford hit two free throws to put Golden State up 116-114 with 33.5 seconds left, Granger popped open for a 3-pointer from the top of the arc -- the same spot where he hit a 3-pointer to beat Phoenix last Wednesday night.
Dunleavy was booed constantly by the Oakland fans who still can't stand the surly, underachieving former No. 3 overall draft pick nearly two years after he left in a trade. He struggled throughout his third game back after sitting out the season with a right knee injury.
Marco Belinelli scored 17 points for Golden State before spraining his right ankle with 6:45 to play. Golden State still is hanging on without captain Stephen Jackson, who missed his third straight game with a strained hamstring, and guard Monta Ellis, who hasn't played this season.
At least the Warriors finally are finished with a brutal four-week stretch in which they never played consecutive games in the same city.
After trailing for most of the first three quarters, Golden State took a one-point lead into the fourth. Crawford converted a four-point play with 7:22 left, but the Pacers went back ahead 42 seconds later on Diener's open 3-pointer while Belinelli writhed on the other end of the court with a sprained ankle.
Belinelli and Granger both got technical fouls for a brief skirmish after Granger fouled Belinelli early in the second quarter. ... Indiana G Marquis Daniels missed his third straight game with a strained groin. ... Crawford's four-point play was his third since joining the Warriors earlier this season. He has been fouled 14 times while shooting a 3-pointer with Golden State.
After whipping the Warriors in Game 4, are the Thunder on the verge of completing an unprecedented run to the NBA Finals? Kevin Pelton has the spectacular facts.
How Oklahoma City took a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals with a dominant Game 4 win over Golden State.
The Warriors' chase of history is nearly history after a Game 4 loss to the Thunder, but their confidence remains intact.