Steph Curry scores 33, Poole finds stride in win against strong Utah Jazz team

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SAN FRANCISCO — The third-place Utah Jazz posed a perfect challenge for a Warriors team just hitting their stride. The Warriors answered the call with a 129-118 win on Friday night at Chase Center.

The win moves them to 10-10, a .500 record, with a 9-1 home record and 1-9 road record. It’s not a picture-perfect record after 20 games for a team looking to defend its title. But momentum is on their side having won four of their last five games.

“Feels great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “To go from 3-7 to 7-3 in our next 10. That’s a good sign. We’re trending upward. And everything is starting to feel more settled and guys are finding roles and doing a good job. Now we got to take it on the road.”

They’ll have a chance to correct their road woes starting with next week’s mini trip to Minnesota on Sunday and Dallas on Tuesday. They’ll have plenty of good threads to pull on their road trip from Friday’s win.

Utah came to Chase Center a surprising contender in the Western Conference – despite trading its two superstars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in the offseason –  boasting a deep bench and an offense that runs a similar run-and-gun style to Golden State.

The Warriors had three 20-point scorers, just one point shy of having four. Steph Curry had his typically magical night, scoring 33 points with six 3-pointers on 13-of-23 shooting from the field to lead all scorers. Andrew Wiggins finished with 20 points. Klay Thompson ignited in the second half to finish with 20 points, including six 3-pointers.

Their 33 total assists marked the sixth time in the last seven games that the Warriors have eclipsed 30 assists in a game. But the top scorers took advantage even when those passing opportunities weren’t there, when the Jazz defense played drop coverage with their bigs, daring the prolific backcourt to create their own shots.

“As an opposing defense, you have to pick your poison,” Draymond Green said. “You got four guys scoring like that, it’s incredible. With the style of defense they were playing, it was more just those guys creating which was huge. There are times when you’re getting them involved with the pass, and then they’re incredible players and incredible scorers. So there are times when they can just get it going.”

A Jazz team that ranked third in 3-point attempts heading into the game (behind Boston and Golden State) shot just 24 percent from 3. But after starting 1-for-14 from 3, Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk led a stretch in which they went 7-for-17 from 3 to help the Jazz take the lead briefly in the third quarter.

It was Thompson and Poole’s second half performances that helped Golden State pull away from fighting Jazz team. After going 0-for-3 in the first half, Thompson hit four 3-pointers within the final four minutes of the third quarter to help turn a slim four-point lead into an 11-point lead by the start of the final frame.

“I thought that stretch was a key to the game,” Kerr said. “I loved Klay’s game tonight. I think he was like, one-for-five in the first half but never chased anything bad. Just stayed patient and hit those big shots after we had lost the lead.”

Poole rushed into shots in the first half with little success, but slowed down and stepped into a 19-point game. Six of those points came in the fourth quarter, crucial to keeping Utah from a late comeback, including a pair of back-to-back pull-up jumpers to start the quarter.

The Warriors needed every bit of those points outside of Curry. Even with Green heading up the non-Curry minutes — along with Anthony Lamb (in the second quarter), Jonathan Kuminga (in the fourth quarter), Wiggins and Donte DiVincenzo —  the Jazz applied pressure in the second and fourth quarters.

“I think we have a bunch of things to work on, but we’re stabilizing,” Green said. “We’re starting to play our brand of basketball on both ends of the floor. Starting to get guys into a groove that we need for us to win at a high level. We’re starting to figure it out.”



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