Ellis, Davis lead way as Warriors rally, race past Raptors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Baron Davis and the Golden State Warriors play such a carefree, entertaining game that it's easy to forget every night is part of a fight for their playoff livelihood.

The Toronto Raptors don't have any such concerns about making the postseason -- and maybe that was one reason Davis and his teammates were tougher in the final minutes Wednesday night.

Monta Ellis scored 33 points and Davis had 23 points and 15 assists in the Warriors' seventh victory in eight games, 117-106 over the slumping -- yet still playoff-bound -- Raptors.

Davis paced the Warriors' 40th victory of the season by ramping up his Warriors after T.J. Ford rallied Toronto midway through the fourth quarter to its first lead since the opening minute. Davis hit a jumper and had two exceptional assists in the next 90 seconds, giving Golden State a lead it wouldn't lose.

The Warriors need every win they can get in the frighteningly competitive Western Conference, where a team could finish 20 games above .500 and miss the playoffs. Golden State is in eighth place at 40-23.

"I've never been involved in something this tight in my career," said Davis, the only Warriors player to appear in every game this season. "This is just a tremendous time to be playing basketball. Every game is an opportunity to move up and see where we can finish."

Stephen Jackson added 19 points for the Warriors, who overcame several awkward matchups with Toronto's larger lineup to beat the Raptors for the fourth straight time in Oakland and finish the regular season 20-10 against East teams.

Golden State took an early 20-point lead before falling behind with 6 1/2 minutes to play, but Davis and Ellis confidently led a comeback for the Warriors' third straight win. Davis had 10 points -- including the Warriors' last seven -- and six assists in the final period.

"That's his quarter, and he seems to get it to a different level in the fourth quarter," Warriors coach Don Nelson said of Davis. "He's one of those rare guys that can do that."

Ford scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who lost for the sixth time in eight games. Anthony Parker added 22 points for Toronto, which lost to the Lakers one night earlier to open a five-game West Coast road trip.

"It's a tough back-to-back, but I don't think fatigue was a factor for us," Parker said. "I thought we fought hard through it, and it was more about taking care of the ball and getting back on defense and limiting the fast-break baskets, which I think we did a better job of in the second half."

Toronto played its seventh straight game without leading scorer Chris Bosh, who hopes to return from his sore right knee during the trip. Size wasn't the Raptors' problem, as Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic and Kris Humphries all took turns scoring easily in the paint against Golden State's small-ball lineup.

Despite their recent struggles culminating in their flat final minutes against Golden State, the Raptors (34-30) are solidly in fifth place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. If the Raptors had the same record in the West, they would be 6 1/2 games behind Golden State in 10th place, out of the playoff race.

"We dug ourselves a big hole, and we fought so hard," Ford said. "I think that happens a lot in the NBA. You work so hard, and we finally get right there, and they go on another run. We got the lead by one point, and then we just went into a drought."

Golden State jumped to a 37-17 lead on Mickael Pietrus' dunk to open the second quarter, but Toronto stayed close largely thanks to Parker, who bested defense from both Davis and Ellis. The Warriors also missed 12 of their first 13 3-pointers before Jackson hit back-to-back shots in the third quarter.

Game notes
Warriors F Chris Webber still isn't ready to return from his left knee injury after a week of rehabilitation in Atlanta. Webber has missed Golden State's last five games, and Nelson has no idea when he'll return -- or if he'll be able to get in shape quickly enough to make the Warriors' playoff roster. ... Pietrus started and scored 14 points before fouling out with 3:35 to play. ... Golden State is two wins away from guaranteeing its second straight winning season after 12 straight losing campaigns.