Thompson scores 26, Curry has five 3s in the 4th as Warriors beat Jazz 129-107 without Kerr

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 12:56 PM Feb 14 2024
NBA Player Stephen Curry
By Guardian Reporter
NBA Player Stephen Curry

KLAY Thompson scored 26 points, Stephen Curry made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and had 25 and the Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 129-107 on Monday night without coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr was in Serbia for the funeral service for Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who had a heart attack at a team dinner in Salt Lake City on Jan. 16 and died the next day. Kerr, assistant coaches Chris DeMarco and Ron Adams, general manager Mike Dunleavy, team liaison Zaza Pachulia, and team vice president Rick Celebrini were among the mourners.

“We knew this trip was going to be tough all the way around, just the emotions coming back to a place where it happened, but it was definitely weird without Steve,” Curry said. “It helped us to acknowledge and celebrate what they were doing and where they were at, and where they should have been. And then our ability to go out and allow the game to honor (Milojevic) was good.”

Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson led the Warriors (26-25) in their fifth straight victory, moving them above .500.

“It was strange. Steve’s our leader. He leads the staff. He did a phenomenal job, leading us through a really tough time … and we’ve grown closer through it,” Atkinson said.

Curry made a 33-footer that capped a 14-5 run and made it 114-96. He finished with seven 3-pointers, his third straight game with seven or more.

“The flow of the game tells you a little bit of what’s necessary,” said Curry, who had 10 assists. “They know if I hit a couple shots, they know I’m probably going to keep shooting.”

Thompson scored his most points since having 30 against Chicago on Jan. 12.

“When I get cuts to the rim and stay patient from the 3-point line … when I get early looks at the rim, and I got a couple of mid-range jumpers, everything opens up and I think that’s what allowed me to have an efficient night from the field,” Thompson said.

Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and Jonathan Kuminga had 14 – his 31st straight game in double figures – for the Warriors.

Jordan Clarkson had 22, but just two in the second half. Collin Sexton also scored 22 and Lauri Markkanen added 19 for Utah.

“We brought a good level of physicality to the game and kind of set the tone for the whole team,” said Draymond Green, who had 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists while leading the Warriors’ defensive effort.

Seven Warriors made 3-pointers in the first quarter, including Curry’s pull-up 3 that gave them a 28-17 lead.

Utah scored baskets on seven straight possessions to move in front, but the Warriors took a 63-55 lead at halftime on Green’s 41-foot heave just before the buzzer.

The new Jazz starting lineup was ineffective after they traded away mainstays Simone Fontecchio, Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji last week, primarily for draft assets.

“We obviously have a lot of work to do in terms of cleaning up some of the guys’ roles and trying to help them understand how they can help each other,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “Our first group was the one that ultimately didn’t play great tonight.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points, Anthony Edwards added 23 and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away in the second half for a 121-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Rudy Gobert had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Timberwolves (37-16) remained atop the Western Conference with their third win in the last four games.

It is the 10th time the Timberwolves have won this season when trailing at halftime, which is second in the NBA.

“I didn’t think we brought enough force or physicality to the game in the first half. I thought we played good basketball but there was a bunch of plays where they just were way more physical than we were,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “All credit to the guys. They recognize that and set the tone at the start of the second half.”

 The Timberwolves trailed 53-49 at halftime, but seized control in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 40-19.

“We’re doing a good job of being focused. We listen to coach and do a good job in the third quarter of adjusting after seeing it and not committing the same sentence,” Towns said.

Minnesota started the second half with eight straight points, but it wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that it was able to pull away.

Minnesota trailed 64-62 midway through the quarter before it went on a 27-8 run to close the third.

The Timberwolves had a 12-2 spurt to close the quarter as Towns scored eight straight points and Edwards had a reverse layup to give them an 89-72 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Minnesota was 12 of 19 from the field in the quarter. Edwards and Towns were both 6 of 6 at the line as the Timberwolves made all 13 of their foul shots in the period.

Meanwhile, the Clippers were 7 of 20 from the field and committed five turnovers that resulted in six Minnesota points.

“We were playing very good in the first half. We were just missing the little extra effort and giving them rebounds. Once we cleaned that up, we had great defensive possessions and were able to run on them,” Gobert said.

The Timberwolves’ largest lead was 24 points during the fourth quarter.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 18 points apiece and James Harden added 17.

George became the Clippers’ career 3-point leader with 7:23 remaining in the third quarter, hitting his 739th to surpass Eric Piatkowski.

“They played better than we did. Outcoached us, outplayed us and everything,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought just the physicality and attention to detail, they were better.”

Los Angeles, which is 27-7 since the start of December, is in third place in the Western Conference with a 35-17 record.