High-flying Warriors crush bottom-dwelling Jazz
ORACLE ARENA — Golden State outshined a struggling Utah Jazz Saturday in a wire-to-wire 102-88 blowout Saturday night.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson warned his team not to overlook the Jazz, despite Utah entering Saturday’s contest with a league-worst 1-9 record on the season:
“I’ve been on teams where you say it, you know it, and you get bit.”
The Warriors followed their coach’s advice and took advantage of Utah’s shortcomings, especially in transition. Jackson credited his team’s success with knowing the importance of protecting home court:
“The teams that have truly successful years, they take care of business at home. That’s the first thing to being a good team. We are learning that and hopefully we will keep it going.”
After just six minutes, Utah’s flaws were on display with Enes Kanter driving in and missing a dunk. Stephen Curry — 15 points and 11 assists — rebounded the mistimed slam and made a behind-the-back pass to Klay Thompson (game high 25 points) for a flashy reverse lay-in.
Three minutes later Curry, made a full court pass over the sluggish Jazz defense to an open David Lee, giving the Warriors a 12-point lead.
The second quarter continued much like the first. Utah led a fast break that resulted in three Jazz players missing from underneath the basket. On the rebound Draymond Green was far ahead of the defense and wide open for a two handed jam putting the Warriors on top 32-19 with 8:55 left in the quarter.
Golden State came out of halftime with a 17-point lead, but let their confidence get the best of them. Five turnovers, sloppy passes and the Jazz hitting from beyond the arc put Utah within seven at 63-56.
Curry said that to continue to do well, the Warriors are going to need to find a way to carry first half success into the second half without stumbling:
“We’re having a couple dry spots, but that’s going to happen. You’ve just got to figure out how to keep the gas pedal down.”
The Jazz comeback attempt was quickly squashed, though, as the Warriors went 3-for-3 to finish out the third with an 11-point bulge at 74-63.
Jermaine O’Neal slipped on the court in the opening seconds of the final quarter, spraining his right knee and straining his right groin. It’s unclear how long the injury will keep O’Neal out as he is set to go through additional tests Sunday.
After losing O’Neal, the Warriors turned the heat back on, creating a double-digit cushion that they never lost. The Warriors finished the night with all five starters scoring double digits, along with Harrison Barnes chipping in 11 points off the bench.
Jazz coach Ty Corbin was happy with the third quarter push by his team. But as he addressed the media after the game, he publicly pleaded for a full game of solid production from his team:
“We have to put together 48 minutes, especially on the road. We have to do it. We have to find a way to do it.”
The Warriors (7-3) face the Jazz (1-10) again on Monday in Utah before returning home to take on the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday.
The Warriors improved to 5-0 at home this season and have won seven of their first 10 games for the first time since 2006-2007. … The Warriors have now held a double-digit lead in all five of their home games, with three wire-to-wire victories, and have trailed for only a combined 15:28 thus far over their home slate. … The Warriors sold out their 43rd consecutive game (including 2013 Playoffs), the team’s longest sellout streak since the remodel of Oracle Arena in 1998. … Klay Thompson (357 threes) surpassed Stephen Jackson (355) for eighth place on the Warriors’ all-time three-pointers list. Stephen Curry finished with 15 points and 11 assists for the 34th double-double of his career.