The Golden State Warriors didn’t appear to be bothered by a loss
in their final game before Christmas.
They’ve done a good job of quickly putting almost all of their
defeats behind them.
The Warriors try to avoid dropping back-to-back games for the
first time in well over a month Wednesday night against the Utah
Jazz, winners of 10 of 12 in this series at home.
One night after cruising to a 115-100 win over Charlotte, Golden
State (18-10) let a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead slip away
Saturday in a 118-115 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jarrett Jack posted season highs of 29 points and 11 assists off
the bench while David Lee scored 20 to go along with 11 rebounds
for the Warriors, who were outscored 56-38 in the paint.
“This will not put a damper on our Christmas spirits,” coach
Mark Jackson said. “We’re excited about where we’re at, and we’re
excited about where we’re headed.”
Despite the setback, the second-place Warriors, who haven’t lost
back-to-back contests since Nov. 9 and 10, sit four games ahead of
the third-place Lakers in the Pacific Division and are starting to
look more and more like legitimate contenders.
“We got a group that – they don’t like losing,” Jackson said.
“And it’s important, individually and collectively, to stop the
bleeding after a loss, after a tough outing. You don’t want to make
it two tough outings, or three tough outings – what you want to do
is stop it right away, and this team has been very good at doing
Much of Golden State’s success is due to a much-improved effort
on the road. The Warriors have gone 10-6 as the visiting team and
again have a chance to match their 11 road victories from
Wins in Salt Lake City, however, haven’t been easy to come by.
In addition to dominating this series at home, the Jazz (15-14)
have taken nine of 11 on their own court this season.
Utah entered Sunday having dropped four of five but regrouped to
win 97-93 at Orlando in its first game since losing point guard Mo
Williams for what is expected to be a significant chunk of time.
Williams suffered a sprained right thumb the previous night in a
105-89 loss at Miami.
“It is tough, you don’t wish that on anybody,” said veteran
Jamaal Tinsley, who had 11 points and four assists while starting
in place of Williams. “This is just the nature of the beast. I get
another opportunity to go out there and play. We want him to get
well and come back soon. … We just have to figure out a way to
win ballgames and do the right thing.”
Earl Watson, who dished out a season best-tying eight assists
off the bench against the Magic, should also see plenty of minutes
with Williams sidelined.
“Jamaal and Earl (Watson) came in and did a tremendous job for
us,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They pushed the pace, they were
getting the ball up the floor, advancing the ball, (and) they did a
good job attacking the basket. … Those guys are true
professionals. They do everything they can to help us win.”
The Jazz are now 4-1 without Williams. Tinsley has averaged 7.2
assists while running the show in each of those games.
Utah, which has been limited to an average of 88.7 points over
its last six contests, could have its hands full against a Warriors
team that’s won 12 straight when holding opponents to 98 or