NBA News Wire
Warriors spoil Jazz’s banner-raising for Sloan
SALT LAKE CITY — On a night the Utah Jazz celebrated their past, All-Star guard Steph Curry made the Golden State Warriors feel even better about their future.
Curry scored a season-high 44 points and the Warriors spoiled a festive banner-raising night for former Utah coach Jerry Sloan with a come-from-behind 95-90 victory over the Jazz on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Curry hit two of his eight 3-pointers during a key 12-0 run in the fourth quarter that put the Warriors (29-19) in position to win after trailing much of the night.
“He got hot. He was shooting it from deep,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Curry, who had 30 second-half points. “He would come down in transition, guys running at him, and he was still making them. We tried to double him, we gave him different looks and we were chasing him off screens. … He just made some tough shots.”
Center Andrew Bogut scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help Golden State follow Thursday’s impressive 111-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers with this road victory.
“The guys, I challenged them. The good teams, they play their best after they play their best. Not too many teams do that,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “The challenge for us was to respond after a big win against the Clippers and put forth the same type of energy and effort. I thought the second half was great.”
The Jazz (16-30) were hoping to win for Sloan, who was honored during a halftime ceremony for a Utah tenure that included two NBA Finals trips, seven division titles and 13 50-win seasons.
“I think I’m the most blessed coach in basketball,” Sloan said before a banner with the number of wins (1,223) and his name was lifted to the rafters. “Thank you very much.”
The Jazz played without two starters, center Derrick Favors (hip) and power forward Marvin Williams, because of injuries.
Even so, it appeared for much of the night that Utah might win its third straight game for the first time this season.
Backup guard Alec Burks scored 26 points and reserve point guard Diante Garrett contributed a career-high 13 points for the Jazz, who held a 77-68 lead in the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Warriors, sparked by Curry’s outside shooting, took over.
Curry, who hit 14 of 26 field goals, tied the game with a 3-pointer, and the Warriors surged ahead 80-77 after a bucket by Bogut and a free throw from Draymond Green.
Burks and rookie point guard Trey Burke helped Utah regain the lead at 88-87 with 2:17 remaining.
From there, guard Klay Thompson, Curry and forward Andre Iguodala hit free throws, and the Warriors took advantage of two late turnovers by Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward to secure a third victory over Utah this season.
Hayward, the Jazz’s leading scorer, only had eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and eight turnovers.
Golden State played without power forward David Lee (shoulder, hip). The Warriors had only won five of 15 games with him out before Friday.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially without one of our stars out on the floor,” Curry said. “It was a big win for us, back-to-back. We had to claw our way out of it. Everybody chipped in on the offensive and defensive ends.”
The Jazz, who led 48-41 at halftime, lost fill-in starting power forward Jeremy Evans in the second quarter after he bruised a tailbone and his right elbow after crashing to the court.
Center Enes Kanter scored 15 points for Utah, which was outscored 29-19 in the fourth quarter.
“I am proud of the effort and focus,” Corbin said. “We made some mistakes. We turned the ball over 19 times. These guys scored 22 points off of turnovers. We’re playing hard. We just have to get a little better.”
NOTES: Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan received a handwritten letter from U.S. President Barak Obama. “Congratulations on your long and remarkable career with the Jazz. Utah justly honors you for the standards of excellence you set with the Mailman and Stockton. But, us Bulls fans still claim you for your grit and work ethic.” … Dozens of former players, coaching colleagues and old-time opponents shared pre-recorded messages of congratulations for Sloan. The comment that drew the biggest laugh from Jazz fans came from Karl Malone’s old nemesis, Charles Barkley. “My only regret is you know how good you would’ve been if you’d only had a real power forward like me? Just kidding Mailman.” … Warriors coach Mark Jackson played for Sloan in Utah during the 2002-03 season.
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