Warriors stun Jazz 131-119 Curry shines on his birthday

Nothing but a big victory was popping out of Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry’s (30) 33rd birthday cake after the Warriors defeated one of the toughest teams in the NBA the Utah Jazz at the Chase center in San Francisco on Sun Mar 14, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Warriors, still smarting from a devastating loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last Thursday, stunned the Utah Jazz Sunday afternoon at the Chase Center. The Jazz entered the contest with a record of 28-9.

They had overwhelmed the Warriors 121-99 on January 23rd in Salt Lake City. The Warriors won Sunday’s game 131-119. There were many positives for the Warriors on Sunday. Stephen Curry was his usual brilliant self as he celebrated his 33rd birthday with 32 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.

The Warriors’ head coach had to be ecstatic about the performances by Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, and the Warriors second unit. Wiggins played his best game of the year.

He performed well on both ends of the court. He knocked down 28 points. He was 12-for-16 from the floor and connected on three threes in four tries. Draymond Green finished with a triple-double. Draymond’s numbers were 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.

It was the 26th time that Draymond has had a triple-double in his career, and the Warriors’ record in those games is an astounding 25-1. Draymond also recorded four steals. Quite a performance.

The Warriors, as a team, had to find a way to stop the Jazz’ offense. Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conly make up a very potent Utah backcourt. The two can knock down threes, and the Warriors did their best to contain them.

The Jazz had three other players that added to their potent offense. The Warriors defense held two of them in check. Bojan Bogdanovich was held to nine and just one three. Joe Ingles, who has tormented the Warriors over the years, knocked down two threes and eight points in total. Sixth-year player Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points coming off the bench. He was a tough customer to stop. He hit three threes.

The Warriors took an early 6-2 lead. Utah went ahead 11-9. Curry made a three and was fouled. Curry made the free throw, and the Warriors regained the lead 13-11. The play was the beginning of a 15-0 run to put them ahead 24-11. They would never lose the lead. The Warriors finished the first quarter leading 33-22.

Steve Kerr sent out his second unit to start the second quarter. Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion were in the backcourt. James Wiseman was at center, and Kelly Oubre, Jr, and Eric Paschal were the forwards.

The Jazz had their first unit on the floor, and they started the quarter on a 12-2 run to close the gap to 35-34. The second unit did not fold. Poole made two threes, Mannion and Paschall each connected on a three to put the Dubs ahead 52-45. Kerr inserted Curry, Green, and Wiggins.

Along with Eric Paschall, they paced the Warriors to a 13-point advantage 67-54 at the end of the first half. Curry led the Warriors with 14. He did not score in the second quarter as the Jazz double-teamed every time he had the ball in his hands.

Wiggins had 12, Gree 11, and Jordan Poole had ten. Michale Conly had 18, and Jordan Clarkson ten to lead the Jazz. Big Rudy Gobert had nine points and 13 rebounds.

The Warriors knew that the Jazz would not go down quietly. The Warriors had to find a way to prevent the Jazz from overcoming the halftime deficit.

It was not going to be easy, but the Warriors did not falter. Wiggins, Wiseman, and Curry were able to prevent the Jazz from regaining the lead. The Jazz did outscore the Warriors 32-28 to finish the quarter trailing by nine 95-86.

Kerr inserted his second unit to start the fourth quarter. The Jazz seized on the opportunity as they scored the first six points of the quarter to creep within three points 95-92. The Warriors answered, but the Jazz inched even closer 101-100.

With the score 103-102, Paschall and Poole made buckets to go ahead by five 107-102 with 6:41 left to play. The Jazz still had a lot of time left to overtake the Warriors. Poole, Wiggins, and Paschall all made big plays to put the Warriors in the driver’s seat 118-109.

Poole made two threes, Wiggins a deuce, and Paschall a three in that stretch. Curry was back in the game, and he hit from downtown to make it 121-111. Wiggins made another three to give the Warriors an eight-point advantage with 1:08 left. The Warriors won 131-119. 

Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors are 20-19 for the year. Utah is now 28-10 for the season.

The good news for the Warriors was the performance of the players coming off the bench. They outscored Utah’s bench 51-36.

James Wiseman had 16 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action. Jordan Poole finished with 18. He was six-for eleven from the floor, and he was three-for-five from downtown. Eric Paschall had nine, including one three-pointer. Nico Mannion had five points. Nico also made a three.

As a team, the Warriors shot 56.2%. The Warriors were 16-for-31 from behind the three-point arc food for 51.6%. They recorded 33 assists on 50 made baskets. On defense, the Warriors had 12 steals, two blocked shots, and forced 13 turnovers.

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert each had 24 points to lead the Jazz. Gobert had a jaw-dropping career-high with 27 rebounds. Michael Conley finished with 23, and Jordan Clarkson added 21.

Curry closed in another Warrior record Sunday afternoon. He needs one more assist to tie Guy Rodgers with the all-time assist record. He should break the record Monday night against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

The Warriors meet the Lakers Monday night at the Chase Center. The game will start at 7:30.

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