Fast Forward: Warriors can't afford letdown vs. Jazz

Fast Forward: Warriors can't afford letdown vs. Jazz
January 31, 2014, 2:30 pm
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We've got to say it one more time: We've got to find a way to build on and bring it into Utah.
David Lee

The Warriors flew to Salt Lake City late Thursday night satisfied but curious. They like what they did hours earlier, defeating the Clippers, but they still have no idea what kind of energy they'll bring Friday night against the Jazz.

That's been an issue for most of this season. Outside the 10-game win streak that began a few days after being admonished by the coaching staff for a listless performance in Phoenix on Dec. 15, the Warriors are 18-19.

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And while there have been plenty of marquee wins that showcase the teams ceiling, such as Thursday night, too many of losses come against teams that, to be sure, they should beat.

Like, for example, Utah.

"I wish we could figure it out and do it every game,'' forward David Lee said of trend. "We've got to bring some of that attitude every single night.

"We've got to say it one more time: We've got to find a way to build on and bring it into Utah.''

The Jazz (16-29) doesn't seem particularly threatening. They lost their first eight games, and 14 of their first 15. They haven't won three in a row all season. They have, however, won their last two. So, yes, Utah is seeking its first three-game win streak of the season.

To look closer at the Jazz schedule is to realize it is 15-15 since that horrible start. So the Warriors, who are 3-5 on the second night of back-to-back games, have to find it within themselves to be aggressive from the opening tip, as they were against L. A.

"A lot of guys are edgy right now,'' center Andrew Bogut said, "not in great moods because we haven't been playing good basketball. That's good in my opinion.''

So will the edge be there Friday night? Are the Warriors still learning how to maintain the edge? Their coach, a pastor, suggests they're still evolving.

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"There's still a ways to go,'' Mark Jackson said. "I believe in this basketball team. And there are people that want to rush the process. There are people that get frustrated and upset and maybe even panic.

"But I treat it just like the ministry. If you come to my church, you may think somebody's a little cuckoo. But I'm awfully proud of them, because you should have seen them three years ago. And we cannot lose sight of how far we've come in three years.''

Stephen Curry vs. Trey Burke. Burke is the strongest Rookie of the Year candidate in the Western Conference. Utah's improvement coincided with the arrival of the 6-foot point guard, who missed the first 12 games of the season after finger surgery.

Klay Thompson vs. Gordon Hayward. Being assigned to Utah's leading scorer is a good test for Thompson, who will be in the rare situation of defending someone of his height. The good news for Thompson and the Warriors is that Thompson is capable of outscoring Hayward.

The teams have met twice this season, with the Warriors winning both games. The Warriors are 9-14 against the Jazz since 2007. Though they have won two of the last three games in Utah, they have lost 30 of their last 36.

Warriors 4-6, Jazz 5-5.

For the Warriors, C Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery), C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and G Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring) are out.

For the Jazz, G Trey Burke (gastric distress), F Richard Jefferson (gastric distress) and F Derrick Favors (hip) are game-time decisions.

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