Warriors take advantage of schedule quirk, blow out Jazz

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors recognize they caught a break with their early season home schedule.
The last thing they were going to do was waste it.
Playing a fifth consecutive home game against an opponent that played the night before, the Warriors followed their successful script once again Saturday, running off from the Utah Jazz early en route to a comfortable, 102-88 victory.
"It's something that's very important, we've handled it very well," Warriors power forward David Lee said of the home-court advantage. "So far we've beaten teams we're supposed to beat."
And done so convincingly. Even after beating their toughest of the five home foes -- the Oklahoma City Thunder -- by just one point Thursday night, the Warriors have recorded a 15.0-point average margin of victory at Oracle Arena this season.
Saturday's wire-to-wire win was the team's third in the five home outings.
"We couldn't have asked for a better start at home," assured shooting guard Klay Thompson, whose five 3-pointers in eight attempts accounted for a majority of his team-best 25 points. "We've got the best fans in the NBA, so it's good to give them some wins."
Facing a Jazz team that was coming off a hard-fought, 91-82 home loss to San Antonio on Friday night, the Warriors held Utah to 27.3 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter while building a 14-point lead and never looked back.
The Warriors (6-3) led by as many as 19 points in the second period and then never by fewer than seven in the second half.
"I thought we did a good job of sustaining the lead," Warriors coach Mark Jackson assessed. "We did a poor job containing the dribble (in the third quarter). We made the proper adjustments. We did a very good job of keeping them at bay."
The teams will meet Monday night in a rematch in Utah.
"We've won games at home," said Lee, whose team is just 1-3 on the road. "Now we need to go on the road and do the same thing against a Jazz team that's going to come back and want a little revenge."
All five Warriors starters scored in double figures. Swingman Andre Iguodala backed Thompson with 16 points, hitting three 3-pointers. Golden State went 9 of 21 from beyond the 3-point arc as a team.
Point guard Stephen Curry added 15 points and 11 assists, Lee scored 13, and center Andrew Bogut posted a second Warriors double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Reserve forward Harrison Barnes made it six Warriors in double figures with 11 points.
Utah's best run came early in the third quarter when small forward Richard Jefferson, backup point guard John Lucas III and shooting guard Gordon Hayward buried 3-pointers on successive possessions in a 9-2 burst that cut a 17-point deficit to 55-45 with 9:03 left in the quarter.
Hayward hit another 3 a little more than three minutes later, getting Utah within 61-54. But Thompson countered with a 3 of his own in a 9-2 Warriors run late in the quarter that reopened a 14-point advantage.
Utah got no closer than 10 in the fourth period.
"I liked the way we came out in the third quarter," assured Jazz coach Ty Corbin. "I thought we picked it up and played a lot better. The guys were still showing fight in them. We have to put together longer stretches of those."
Power forward Derrick Favors had 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Jazz (1-10), which lost its sixth consecutive road game.
Hayward and backup forward Marvin Williams had 14 points apiece for the Jazz, Jefferson added 12 and center Enes Kanter contributed 10. Utah overcame its sluggish start to shoot 45.5 percent from the field for the game.
"Another loss is frustrating," assured Hayward. "We were a lot more urgent and a lot more assertive (in the third quarter). We have to be able to do that for the whole game."
NOTES: Warriors backup C Jermaine O'Neal slipped on the court early in the fourth quarter and sustained both a sprained right knee and strained right groin. He had to be helped to the locker room in serious pain. ... Jazz SF Marvin Williams played despite suffering a fractured nose in Friday's loss to San Antonio. Williams donned a makeshift face mask when he first entered the game but later discarded it. He will be fitted for an upscale model before Monday's rematch with the Warriors. ... The home-and-home is Golden State's only such sequence this season. The Jazz also will face the Phoenix Suns (Nov. 29-30) and Minnesota Timberwolves (Jan. 18-21) under those circumstances. ... The game served as a homecoming of sorts for Jazz SF Richard Jefferson, SG Brandon Rush and C Andris Biedrins, all of whom were with the Warriors last season. They were sent to Utah (along with two first-round and two second-round draft picks) in the offseason, three-team trade that brought SF Andre Iguodala to the Warriors from Denver. ... Biedrins, who took over the franchise's career leader in field-goal percentage (59.4) during his nine seasons with the Warriors, sat out Saturday's game with a sprained left ankle.

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