Jazz 91, Warriors 77
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Jerry Sloan sounded more like a coach whose team got routed than the one who won.
Sloan’s Utah Jazz beat the slumping and tired Warriors 91-77 Wednesday night, extending a 10-year home winning streak against Golden State despite a bit of a letdown in the second half.
“They had played last night. They had a tough game,” Sloan said of the Warriors’ 96-92 loss to Sacramento on Tuesday night. “They come out here and get back in the ballgame and we act like we aren’t even concerned.”
The Warriors have lost seven straight.
The Jazz shot 59 percent and forced 14 turnovers in the first half to beat the Warriors for the 19th straight time at home. The margin was close to 20 points for most of the second half and could have been much more if not for some sloppy play by the Jazz.
“I think the biggest thing was that Golden State came here not ready to play. That’s the reason why we won this game so easy,” said Gordan Giricek, who had 10 points in his first start for the Jazz.
Andrei Kirilenko had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Raja Bell added 15 points and six assists. With Utah’s win and Denver’s 98-97 loss at New Jersey on Wednesday, the Jazz are a half-game behind the Nuggets for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West.
Utah visits Denver on Sunday in the second stop of a five-game road trip.
After struggling on the road all season, Sloan wanted to see a more consistent game at home before the Jazz left town at such a critical time.
“We came out in the second half, and I am sure Jerry already told you, we were pretty soft and they laid into us,” Bell said. “We should have been the fresher team, and it didn’t look like that.”
Kirilenko was the only Jazz starter to play more than a few minutes in the fourth quarter. He said he got in Sloan’s doghouse for not following the offense when his defender tried to cheat toward the basket.
“That’s my bad. He’s the coach,” Kirilenko said. “He gave me direction. I’m like a worker. I’m like soldier. I should do that.”
Mikki Moore was the only one of Utah’s 11 players not to score. Sasha Pavlovic, who was replaced in the starting five by Giricek after struggling the last few games, came off the bench to score 11, and Jarron Collins added 11 points and six rebounds.
Golden State never threatened to break the streak.
“They just beat us from the start,” Dunleavy said. “They’re fighting for their lives to get in that last playoff spot, and they’re playing like it.”
After falling behind by 26 in the first half, the Warriors didn’t get closer than 17 until Mickael Pietrus made two free throws with 18.3 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 91-75.
Troy Murphy, activated Wednesday after missing 29 games with a broken hand, added a late dunk to cap a 7-2 run for Golden State to make the final score look closer than the game actually was.
About the only real highlight for the Warriors was when Avery Johnson intercepted Mo Williams’ pass on a five-on-one during the second quarter and passed it to Murphy for a dunk. But Bell answered with a jump shot, then drove for a one-handed dunk to put the Jazz up 50-25.
Later in the quarter, Michael Ruffin grabbed an offensive rebound and slammed it down in one motion, and the Jazz led 56-30 at halftime. It was Utah’s highest scoring first half this season, topping the 55 on Nov. 19against Sacramento.
Kirilenko has led the Jazz in scoring 26 times and rebounding 24 times. … Utah G Carlos Arroyo missed the game with a sore back he injured Monday in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. … Utah shot 23-for-39 in the first half…. Golden State was just 2-for-11 from 3-point range.