Curry scores season-high 44, Warriors beat Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Stephen Curry threw up some improbable 3-point shots just to see if he still had it.
''I call them `heat checks','' Curry said.
The Golden State Warriors needed all of Curry's continued hot shooting against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Curry scored a season-high 44 points, including eight 3-pointers, to lead the Warriors past Utah 95-90 on a night the Jazz honored former coach Jerry Sloan.
One game after shooting 8 of 10 in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Curry said, ''Every time I have a clean look, I feel like it's a good shot. I have the confidence of everybody in the locker room. So if it's time to score and I'm feeling the moment, I got to rise up.''
Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors came from nine points behind to win on back-to-back nights.
''He got hot. He was shooting it from deep. He would come down in transition, guys running at him and he was still making them,'' said Utah coach Ty Corbin, who tried switching defenses and doubling Curry to no avail.
Andrew Bogut had 16 points, 17 rebounds and five assists to help overcome the loss of David Lee (shoulder, hip) and a horrendous shooting night from backcourt mate Klay Thompson, who was 3 of 20 for 11 points.
''I just let the game come to me. I got some open looks from Steph because he was on fire out there. Thankfully I made them, but we won this game defensively in the fourth in my opinion,'' Bogut said.
Reserve guard Alec Burks had 26 points on a variety of jumpers and acrobatic drives, but it wasn't enough for Utah, which dealt with injuries to three frontcourt players.
The Jazz played without starting forward Marvin Williams (heel), center Derrick Favors (hip) and starter Jeremy Evans had 10 points before leaving the game in the second quarter after a scary fall.
In a halftime ceremony, the Jazz honored Sloan, their former Hall of Fame coach. They raised a banner at EnergySolutions Arena featuring the number ''1223,'' which represents the combined number of Sloan's regular season (1,127) and playoff (96) victories in his 23 years as head coach of the Jazz from 1988-2011.
Karl Malone, John Stockton, long-time assistant Phil Johnson and Utah owner Gail Miller were among those who spoke during the festivities, which brought long periods of sustained ovations.
''I feel like I was the luckiest coach in basketball to have these players and the organization I had here,'' said Sloan, who won more games with one franchise (1,127) than any other coach. More than a dozen of his former players joined him on the court,
The Jazz led 77-68 early in the fourth quarter, but the ragtag Jazz lineup collapsed against the onslaught of Curry's 3-pointers and Bogut's inside play during a 12-0 run that allowed the Warriors to reclaim the lead with 6:55 to play.
Burks made a layup for Utah's final lead at 88-87 with 2:17 remaining.
Curry responded with a shot in the lane to spark a spurt of eight straight points to clinch the win for Golden State.
''The good teams, they play their best after they play their best. The challenge was for us to respond after a big win against the Clippers and put forth the same type of energy and effort,'' Golden State coach Mark Jackson said.
The Warriors have struggled since a 10-game winning streak in December and January, unable to string two wins together until the past two.
''This was a huge game for us, and we were dealing with fatigue, and playing without D-Lee so for us to overcome a second-half deficit like that and find a way to get it done . we knew a win tonight would validate last night's win and get us over the hump and get some momentum going,'' Curry said.
Evans was undercut on a rebound and landed on his back with 3:15 left in the first half. He was still for a couple minutes and then gingerly walked to the locker room with assistance. Diagnosed with a bruised tailbone and right elbow, he missed the rest of the game.
NOTES: In one of many tributes to Sloan on the video board, Charles Barkley joked, ''Do you know how good you could have been if you had a real power forward?'' The camera then panned the stands to a laughing Karl Malone, who received a standing ovation from the crowd. . Malcolm Thomas, who was signed on Jan. 15 by the Jazz, had his first action as a Utah player but did not score in 11 minutes. . On his first shot, Curry reached 6,000 career points.