The entire Jazz front line was missing.
Dampier responded by scoring 18 points and grabbing a career-high 24 rebounds for his 20th double-double in Golden State’s 101-85 victory over the short-handed Jazz on Monday night.
“We knew we had an opportunity to pound the ball inside tonight,” Dampier said. “I just feel what I’m doing now I could have done the last couple years, but I had some injuries. And now I’m showing people what I’m capable of doing.”
Raja Bell matched his career high with 25 points, and also had six rebounds and five assists for Utah.
The Warriors were too much for the Jazz in the paint without Ostertag and forwards Ruffin (left foot sprain) and Kirilenko (right ankle sprain). The Jazz only used eight players, compared to the Warriors’ nine.
The 7-foot-2 Ostertag was suspended for the game earlier in the day along with Cleveland’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas for fighting Saturday, and Golden State routinely took advantage of his absence by pounding the ball inside.
“You miss those guys, but they’re gone,” forward Paul Grant said. “A lot of teams have just eight players out there. These are the guys we’ve got. You still have to get the job done. We didn’t keep Erick Dampier off the boards. We didn’t establish ourselves on the rebounds.”
Warriors coach Eric Musselman and Dampier had a nice talk after the morning shootaround. Last season, Dampier challenged the rookie coach, calling him “Musselhead” out of frustration at his lack of playing time.
“Damp played another good game,” Musselman said. “We talked about things. He’s been in a good frame of mind all season.”
The Jazz fell behind early and spent almost the entire game trying to play catch up. They trailed by as many as 18. And they didn’t help themselves with mistakes such as Bell’s technical for pushing Brian Cardinal with 9:04 left.
Golden State got another impressive outing from Cliff Robinson, who has made 17 of 22 3-pointers in his last four home games. He finished with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots.
The Warriors used a 9-2 run midway through the third quarter to build a 55-46 lead, then Cheaney’s dunk at 5:34 made it 60-50.
Dampier had his third game with 20 or more rebounds.
“We could not handle them inside,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We weren’t big enough and we weren’t tough enough.”
Jazz rookie guard Maurice Williams scored 15 points after missing Saturday night’s home loss to Cleveland because of tendinitis in his left ankle.
Cardinal, Golden State’s spark off the bench, returned after missing two games with the flu, though he still felt weak. He had three points, two steals and a rebound in 12 minutes.
The Warriors shot 60 percent in the first quarter, with Richardson scoring six straight during an 11-0 run, but Golden State committed 12 first-half turnovers and led just 42-37 at the break. The Jazz went to the free-throw line 12 times in the first half.
Both teams wore throwback jerseys—the Warriors from the 1966-67 season andthe Jazz from 1979-80. Golden State is 3-0 when wearing their retro uniforms.
Warriors GM Garry St. Jean called captains Avery Johnson, Richardson and Robinson over after the morning shootaround to discuss the state of the team. “It was good. Real positive,” Johnson said. … Injured Warriors F Troy Murphy, out four to six weeks with a deep bone bruise and stress reaction in his right ankle, will have another MRI next week to determine his progress and a better timetable of when he can run again. Doctors will compare the MRI with one he had earlier this month. Murphy is limited to lifting weights for now. “I want to come back and be good for the rest of the year and help this team win,” he said. … Two “Jr. Warrior” journalists attended Musselman’s pregame interview session. A 10-year-old girl asked, “Do you have any conflicts with your players?” Musselman said, “Do you have any conflicts with you parents?” She said no. “I’ve got to find out their secret,” Musselman said. … Dampier’s previous career high in rebounds was 23 on Nov. 11, 2003,on the road against the Lakers.