W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91

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W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND It took the Warriors a little while, but it looks like theyre building something. Golden State beat the Suns on Monday at Oracle, their third consecutive victory and longest of the season.Warriors 102, Suns 96Key bucket: With the Warriors up three and the shot clock winding down, Monta Ellis had the ball stripped from him and it wound up in the hands of Ekpe Udoh.Udoh took the ball strong to the hoop and finished with his left hand over a couple of Suns defenders to give the Warriors a 96-91 lead with 36 seconds left.Im certainly pleased with what hes doing on the floor, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Outstanding defense on the pick and roll, on the block, all over the place, altering shots and then offensively hes becoming more aggressive. The guy is playing great basketball and Im really pleased hes responding.Key stretch: With the score 88-84, and Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat having just re-entered the game, it appeared to be time for the Suns to make a run.But Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson promptly connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, and just like that it was 94-84 with 5:43 remaining with the Warriors in control.The lead got down to three, but not any closer than that.Lees night: He did virtually all of his work in the first three quarters, but David Lee still finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Lee took advantage of plenty of minutes at the five, taking Phoenixs Marcin Gortat to the mid-post area and doing damage from there.He was attacking and being aggressive, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. We went to him a lot down in the post, even isos iin the wing, where he was getting to the basket and finishing around the basket. He controlled the glass, thats what he does. Hes a double-double machine when hes out there playing the way he is supposed to. It was a huge game from him.Ellis struggles: Ellis got off to a rough start against Phoenix, missing his first nine shots from the field before settling into a 2-for-12 half. Ellis had been shooting the ball well coming into Mondays game, going 37-for-66 (56 percent) from the field in his past three games.Incidentally, Ellis was playing his 400th game as a Warrior.3-pointer AWOL: After using the 3-point shot to their benefit in the past four games, the longball was hard to find in the first half against Phoenix. The Warriors went just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc through two quarters. The Warriors had gone 51-for-99 from 3-point range (52 percent) in the four games prior to Monday.State of the Warriors: Jackson was asked before the game now that hes had a few months to assess the team, what does he think?Weve got some very good pieces and were playing some very good basketball right now, Jackson said. Bottom line is were doing a better job of taking care of the basketball. When we rebound and defend we put ourselves in position to beat whoever comes in here or wherever we go.Very pleased with the direction were heading in. Ive got a great group of guys. Ive been on teams and Ive followed teams where it wasnt fun to be part of -- whether it be in the locker room or in games. Ive got a great group of guys. I dont have a bad guy. Ive got a bunch of guys who are buying into what were trying to do.

Warriors pushed late by Jazz, still come out on top in Utah

Warriors pushed late by Jazz, still come out on top in Utah

BOX SCORE

SALT LAKE CITY — The Golden State Warriors needed less than nine minutes to open a 24-point lead over the short-handed Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Stephen Curry scored 26 points and the Warriors controlled the Jazz from start to finish in a 106-99 victory.

Curry had 14 points during a 29-1 run that made it 29-5. The Jazz's only lead of the game was 4-2.

"Loss of focus," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said about the second half. "Our first quarter was great, we pushed the ball and our defensive intensity was fantastic. I think we let down. We started turning it over some careless, purposeless plays.

"We didn't really have an idea of what we were trying to accomplish. Some defensive mistakes not getting out on shooters and they took advantage."

Kevin Durant added 21 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds, Joe Ingles scored a career-high 21 points, and Shelvin Mack added a season-high 19.

The Jazz have four starters sidelined by injuries, including their top three scorers.

"I didn't do a good job of attacking throughout the game and I thought that was a good opportunity for me to attack," Durant said about the fourth quarter.

Golden State led 65-46 at halftime as the second unit allowed the Jazz to hang around and, technically, remain within striking distance. The urgency from the first quarter disappeared in the second half and the Jazz crept within five in the fourth quarter thanks to buckets from Mack and Ingles, but Durant closed the game with 11 in the final period.

"What we've discussed is just roles," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said about surviving the injuries. "They can morph. They widen, they can narrow, they can do anything. Hopefully, on a team, guys are willing to evolve and adjust to what the team needs. That's really all we emphasized."

TIP-INS

Warriors: Rookie Patrick McCaw scored a career-high 10 points, all in the first half. ... Shaun Livingston took the night off to rest. ... Draymond Green was two assists shy of his 15th career triple-double. ... Green tweaked his ankle, but he and Kerr didn't seem overly concerned.

Jazz: Utah started the combination of Joe Johnson, Mack, Dante Exum, Gobert and Boris Diaw for the first time this season. ... Ingles hit a career-high five 3-pointers.

INJURED JAZZ

The Jazz were without four starters — Gordon Hayward (finger), Rodney Hood (hamstring), George Hill (toe) and Derrick Favors (knee). Utah has been dealing with injuries all season, but Thursday was their most depleted lineup to date.

"It's easy to be frustrated," Snyder said. "That's something you have to just fight against and make a decision to do the best with where we are.

"It's a credit to our guys really. We've got a group that has character. Over a longer period of time it becomes more challenging. ... Hopefully, there's a silver lining. We've got some guys that are getting minutes that may not be getting otherwise."

QUOTABLE

"This team, my first year was kind of a surprise and everybody seemed to love us. Now maybe it's changed a little bit. It honestly makes no difference to us." — Kerr.

ROLES

Snyder said roles morph, but Joe Johnson added that shouldn't be a difficult thing night-to-night.

"This is our profession, man," Johnson said. "This is what we signed up for. This is what we do. When you're number's called, you've got to be ready regardless of the circumstances."

UP NEXT

Warriors: Golden State travels to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday in the third game of a five-game trip.

Jazz: Utah hosts a Sacramento Kings team on Saturday that has lost eight of 12 on the road.

Warriors recall first-round pick Damian Jones from Santa Cruz

Warriors recall first-round pick Damian Jones from Santa Cruz

The Warriors recalled center Damian Jones from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced on Thursday.                             

During his most recent assignment, which began Nov. 30, Jones averaged 2.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.00 blocks in 19.3 minutes over three games with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate.

The Vanderbilt product, who was selected 30th overall by Golden State in the 2016 NBA Draft, grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds in 17 minutes on Dec. 3 at Maine.

The 7’0”, 245-pound center has appeared in five games (two starts) with Santa Cruz this season, holding averages of 2.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.20 blocks in 19.0 minutes.

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