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Curry, Warriors cruise past Jazz

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OAKLAND, Calif. — A 54-point night at Madison Square Garden is generally considered the crowning achievement of Stephen Curry’s career.

However, as far as the Golden State Warriors point guard is concerned, he had an even better game Sunday night against the Utah Jazz.

Curry poured in 31 points in just 29 minutes and still found time for a career-high-tying 16 assists as the Warriors jumped on the Jazz early en route to a 130-102 victory.

The win allowed the Warriors (48-29) to record a 4-0 season-series sweep over the Jazz for the first time in franchise history. Golden State’s average margin of victory against Utah was 14.5 points.

The outcome was never in doubt. Curry exploded for 16 points in the first quarter, helping the Warriors build an early 15-point cushion.

“We got into a nice rhythm,” Curry said. “The ball movement is pretty high right now. When we’re able to do that, the talent that we have to shoot the basketball shines.”

Curry’s backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, led the Warriors with 33 points as the duo topped 30 in the same game for the first time in their careers.

Curry recorded assists on eight of Thompson’s 11 field goals.

In the end, the assists — and the Golden State win — made it a memorable night for the All-Star.

“I felt bad after the 50-point night because we didn’t get the win,” Curry said. “Getting my teammates involved is a great feeling. I definitely enjoyed the win more.”

The Warriors remain 1 1/2 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers in the race for the No. 5 playoff position in the Western Conference.

With center Andrew Bogut returning to the lineup after a four-game absence caused by a pelvic contusion, the Warriors wasted little time distancing themselves from the Jazz (24-53), who own the worst record in the West.

After Utah center Derrick Favors opened the game’s scoring, the Warriors countered with the next seven points, with a Curry 3-pointer sandwiched by hoops from forwards Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Curry bombed in three more 3s in the period, the last of which gave the Warriors a 23-13 lead just 6:10 into the game.

The advantage reached 18 in the second period, during which Thompson matched Curry’s first-quarter total with 16 points, including three 3-pointers.

The Warriors topped the 100-point mark in the final minute of the third period and ended the quarter with a 101-73 lead. At that point, Curry and Thompson had combined for 64 points, just nine fewer than the entire Utah team.

“It’s fun to watch. Guys are in a really good place right now,” Iguodala said. “You can see (Curry and Thompson) have got that glow about themselves.”

Curry made 12 of his 18 shots, including five of his 10 3-pointers. Thompson hit seven 3s in 10 attempts and shot 11-for-20 overall.

Iguodala (11 points), Green (11), backup forward Harrison Barnes (10) and reserve guard Jordan Crawford (10) also scored in double figures for the Warriors and combined for four 3-pointers. Golden State shot 51.5 percent (17 of 33) from behind the 3-point arc and 57.8 percent (52 of 90) overall.

Utah shot 45.3 percent (39 of 86) from the floor, 30.8 percent (four of 13) from long distance.

“We’ve talked about finishing the season the right way,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “These last two games (including Friday’s 102-69 demolition of the Sacramento Kings) have been a thing of beauty.”

The Warriors played without power forward David Lee, the team’s second-leading scorer, who sat out a sixth straight game with a strained right hamstring.

Starting point guard Trey Burke and his backup, Alec Burks, shared team-high honors with 24 points apiece for the Jazz, who were coming off a 100-96 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Burke completed a double-double with a career-best 15 assists. A majority of Burks’ points came on 14-for-16 free-throw shooting.

“I guarded both of them tonight, and they are great players,” Burks said of Curry and Thompson. “I have the ability to guard anybody, but (Curry) was hot tonight.”

Burke had 10 of his points and five of his assists in the fourth quarter, a period in which the Jazz played the Warriors evenly — with Curry and Thompson both on the bench the entire time.

“I liked the way he fought back and continued to stand in there and fight,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said of Burke. “You have to keep pushing, and I thought he did a good job of just continuing to play it all the way out.”

Favors and shooting guard Gordon Hayward added 10 points apiece in the loss.

NOTES: The 130-point total was the Warriors’ highest of the season. … Golden State is 19 games over .500 for the first time this year. … Only three sets of starting guards have scored 30-plus points in the same game this season. Sacramento’s PG Isaiah Thomas and SG Marcus Thornton and Orlando’s PG Jameer Nelson and SG Victor Oladipo were the others. … An MRI on Warriors PF David Lee’s injured right hamstring disclosed nerve inflammation, which could sideline the 2013 All-Star for the rest of the regular season. … Warriors coach Mark Jackson was flanked by only three assistant coaches in the game, with Darren Erman, the club’s No. 2 assistant, having been fired Saturday for what the team labeled “a violation of company policy.” Another of the team’s assistants, Brian Scalabrine, recently was reassigned to the Warriors’ NBA Developmental League team in Santa Cruz because of philosophical differences with Jackson. … The Jazz waived former Warriors first-round pick C Andris Biedrins in order to create a roster spot that enabled them to claim PF Erik Murphy off waivers. Biedrins had played just 45 minutes and scored only three points for the Jazz after having been acquired in a three-team deal last offseason.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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