Warriors hold off Jazz rally
SALT LAKE CITY -- Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Kevin Durant added 21, including 11 in fourth quarter, to help the Golden State Warriors hold off a late rally and beat the Utah Jazz 106-99 on Thursday night.
Draymond Green added 13 points for the Warriors while Klay Thompson and Patrick McCaw chipped in 10 apiece. Golden State (20-3) won its eighth consecutive road game -- the third longest streak in franchise history.
Joe Ingles scored a career-high 21 points to lead Utah. Rudy Gobert finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds, for his 14th double-double of the season, and Shelvin Mack chipped in 19. It wasn't enough for the Jazz (14-10) to overcome a sluggish first quarter start.
Golden State wasted no time overwhelming a shorthanded Utah squad. One-third of the Jazz roster was not available to play because of injuries and the remaining healthy players had trouble reining in the potent Warriors' offense. Golden State, the league's leader in field goal percentage, shot 55.6 percent (25-of-45) from the field in the first half alone.
Starting with a jumper from Thompson, Golden State ripped off a 29-1 run after Utah took a quick 4-0 lead behind baskets from Shelvin Mack and Joe Johnson. Curry put the Warriors ahead on a 3-pointer -- the first of three he hit to keep the spurt going -- and finished the run off with a 3-point play that gave Golden State a 29-5 lead with 3:55 left in the first quarter.
Utah went 7:48 without a field goal in the opening quarter before Ingles and Trey Lyles drove for back-to-back layups to break the drought. It didn't help the Jazz that the Warriors controlled the glass during the quarter, outrebounding Utah 19-9 to deny opportunities for second chance points.
The Jazz offense did much better during the second quarter. Utah cut the deficit to 43-28 after Shelvin Mack bookended an 8-0 run with a pair of baskets. Golden State didn't let the Jazz get any closer. Green buried a 3-pointer to halt the short run. Then he combined with Patrick McCaw for three more 3-pointers to boost the lead to 60-35 with 3:09 left before halftime.
Utah didn't go away quietly into the night. The Jazz used a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to single digits in the third quarter. Rudy Gobert sparked the run with a 3-point play after drawing a foul on a dunk. Joe Ingles finished it off with a 3-pointer, trimming Golden State's lead to 73-64 with 4:43 remaining in the quarter.
Back-to-back baskets from JaVale McGee and Andre Iguodala followed by a Curry 3-pointer to temporarily quell the run and give Golden State an 80-66 lead. The Jazz made another charge again in the fourth quarter.
Utah outscored the Warriors 9-2 to open the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 84-79 on a 3-pointer from Ingles. Durant preserved Golden State's lead with a series of free throws and a pair of baskets. His second one pushed the Warriors ahead 92-80 with 5:01 left.
NOTES: Only 10 players played for Utah. Gordon Hayward (sprained finger) and Rodney Hood (hamstring strain) both sat out after suffering injuries against Phoenix on Tuesday. George Hill (sprained toe) and Derrick Favors (knee contusion) have not played since November and Alec Burks (ankle surgery) has not yet played this season. ... G Shaun Livingston was inactive (rest) for the Warriors. This was Livingston's first absence of the season. He is averaging 4.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 17.3 minutes through 22 games. ... C Rudy Gobert averaged 11.0 points and 14.6 rebounds in three games against Golden State last season. ... F Draymond Green leads the Warriors in assists (7.3) and steals (2.2) and is the co-leader in rebounds (8.4). Green and Russell Westbrook are the only NBA players averaging at least eight rebounds and seven assists per game.