Stephen Curry found his shooting stroke in the second quarter, and it was more than enough to push the Golden State Warriors past the struggling Utah Jazz.
Curry scored 22 points and Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes had 17 apiece in the Warriors’ 98-87 victory Monday night.
Curry had eight assists and made four 3-pointers before a scary play in the fourth quarter left him a little woozy. The star guard left the game after Utah’s Marvin Williams landed on his head in a scramble for a loose ball.
”I went to reach for the ball and the next thing I know, I hit the ground pretty hard and then I think Marvin landed on me,” Curry said.
After a couple of minutes to gain his bearings, Curry got up slowly and left the court under his own power with a towel draped over his head. But he is expected to play in Wednesday’s home game against Memphis.
”I’ve got a nasty headache but I’ll be all right,” he said.
The Warriors made 12 of 22 attempts from 3-point range and led by as many as 28 points.
”When you defend, rebound and run, it’s hard to guard us. Any one of us can make a play in transition,” Curry said.
Gordon Hayward scored 18 points and Williams had 16 but the Jazz (1-11) dropped their third straight after earning their lone win of the season.
Playing without injured center Jermaine O’Neal, the Warriors got 14 points and 14 rebounds from David Lee and Andrew Bogut added 13 boards and three blocked shots to neutralize Utah’s inside presence.
What the Jazz lack (and the Warriors have in spades) became apparent in the fourth quarter. After clawing within striking distance, Utah missed eight of its first nine shots in the final period.
The Jazz are among the worst shooting teams in the league, converting less than 41 percent of their attempts. They were even worse against Golden State, finishing at 39.5 percent despite an abundance of clean looks at the rim.
”We missed some outside jump shots and they were off to the races and in transition,” Hayward said. ”It’s frustrating and we have to play smarter.”
On the other end, the Warriors heated up in the final period to put the game away. Thompson’s layup with 7:56 to play extended the lead to 92-69.
”We’re playing well and sharing the ball . but more importantly, our defense is solid,” Curry said. ”When you are getting stops and you’re able to run in transition, the offense seems to flow pretty smoothly.”
Utah did have one strong stretch in the third quarter. Diante Garrett, who was just signed last week, checked in and promptly scored eight in a 17-2 spurt. Garrett dished to Williams for a 3 that made it 70-57.
The Warriors, who had lost their previous two road games, outrebounded Utah 57-40 and limited the NBA’s best offensive rebounding team to just six.
”We are starting to get an identity, especially defensively,” Bogut said. ”We won the rebound battle by 17 against a very good offensive rebounding team. I like our effort.”
Early in the second quarter, Williams made a 3-pointer to help the Jazz close to 29-27 before Curry led a 30-9 run, fueled by 6-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc for Golden State.
Curry had missed eight 3-pointers in a row over the past three games before making a trio of 3s in the second-quarter surge.
”It was a close game and they made three in a row there and we panicked a little bit. This is a team that is capable of scoring a lot of points in a short amount of time,” Utah coach Ty Corbin said.
Golden State also won the front end of a home-and-away set between the teams. Thompson had 25 points as the Warriors held off the Jazz 102-88 on Saturday.
O’Neal missed the game with a bruised right knee and a strained right groin. He didn’t travel with the team, and the reserve is considered day to day.
”We’re a very loose group and very young group,” Bogut said. ”I’m kind of the old dog now at 29, believe it or not. But we’ve come together and it’s been a great start to the season.”
NOTES: The Warriors signed C Dewayne Dedmon from their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz. Dedmon did not play. . . . The Jazz turned the ball over just 11 times but the miscues led to 19 Golden State points. . . . The attendance was 16,051, one of the lowest numbers in years at the Energy Solutions Arena.