Utah in search of rare road win at Golden State (Dec 20, 2016)
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors will look to continue their recent dominance of the Utah Jazz when the Western Conference rivals meet Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors have prevailed in 12 of their last 13 regular-seasons matchup with the Jazz, including a 106-99 win on Dec. 8 in Utah.
The Jazz haven’t won in Oakland since April 7, 2013, which has been followed by six consecutive Golden State home wins by an average of 18.2 points per game.
One season after struggling to a 16-25 road record and missing the playoffs by one game, the Jazz have gotten off to a fast start away from home. Utah began a two-game trip with an 82-73 win at Memphis on Sunday, its third consecutive road win.
The Jazz are 8-5 on the road this season.
“These are big games for us,” Jazz star Gordon Hayward said after Saturday’s win. “In some ways, every game is a big game for us out in the West. But this is an important week to us. We have to play well in games like these if we want to get where we want to be.”
Where the Jazz wants to be eventually is where the Warriors currently reside. The two-time Western Conference champs have won four in a row at home to improve their best-in-basketball record to 24-4.
They are coming off one of their most impressive performances of the season in a 135-90 home blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 45-point margin of victory was the largest in the NBA this season.
“We got our legs back,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said to reporters after the victory, which came two days after a lackluster home win over the New York Knicks.
Kerr gave the club the day off in between the games.
“We didn’t look fresh at all,” Kerr said of the New York game. “The guys looked like they had that spring in their step again (against Portland). Good to see.”
The bad news for Utah: Golden State has had two days off since the Portland game.
The clubs’ earlier meeting in Salt Lake City was anything but a blowout. The Jazz rallied from an early deficit to get within five early in the fourth quarter before the Warriors held on.
Utah played that game without four injured starters. The Jazz had three of them back for Sunday’s game at Memphis, including power forward Derrick Favors, who has played three times on a minute restriction (no more than 13½ in any of the three) after having missed 13 straight with a knee injury.
That leaves the Jazz only without point guard George Hill, who has sat out nine games in a row with a sprained big toe. He won’t play Tuesday, and isn’t likely to return for at least another week.
The Warriors got starting center Zaza Pachulia back from a three-game absence because of a wrist injury in the win over Portland. Pachulia and his backup, JaVale McGee, combined for 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 28 minutes in the victory.