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OAKLAND – During the Warriors' 98-87 win over Utah on Monday night, Mark Jackson was compelled to teach a lesson any coach would rather avoid.
He humbled some of his players in public and, honestly, they invited it.
[RELATED: Warriors coast to 98-87 win over Jazz]
With 3:58 left and the Warriors holding a 96-73 lead, Jackson did the sensible thing, removing his starters and turning the game over to the subs.
Less than three minutes later, four of those reserves – Marreese Speights, Kent Bazemore and rookies Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic – were slinking back to the bench, having failed an uncomplicated mission.
They went scoreless with four turnovers, allowing Utah to score 11 unanswered points while taking only 2:39 off the clock. After confirming that his starters were ready to return, Jackson promptly inserted four of them.
"I wanted to make sure my guys were fine, that they were still loose,'' Jackson said. "Once they said they were fine, it wasn't a tough decision at all. I'm not into embarrassing any one of my guys, but if you continue to put forth embarrassing effort, you leave me no choice.''
The bench often has been a problem this season, though usually obscured by the large leads created by the starters. The issue has become more pronounced with the absence of backup point guard Toney Douglas (out since Nov. 9) and with backup center Jermaine O'Neal sustaining a knee/groin injury last Saturday.
Jackson said he was not particularly concerned about this latest bench letdown. He clearly was displeased.
"Somebody's always watching,'' he said. "And you never know when you earn a job because of the performance you put forth with two minutes or three minutes or five minutes to go in the game. Disappointed in those guys. They own it, and we move forward.''
Said reserve forward Draymond Green, the lone reserve not sent back to the bench: "We need to do a better job of keeping the lead. But at the end of the day, we came and got a road win. That's the most important thing. Now we have to figure out why we keep losing these leads and try to correct that.''
THE GOOD: The Warriors clobbered the Jazz on the glass, with David Lee (14) and Andrew Bogut (13) combining for 27 rebounds, and burned them with 54.5 percent 3-point shooting. Harrison Barnes played efficiently off the bench, with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Bogut blocked a season-high four shots.
THE BAD: Barnes and Green aside, the bench crew. The Warriors committed 14 turnovers, with Curry and Lee combining for 10. The Jazz finished with a total of 10.
THE FUTURE: The Warriors return to Oracle Arena to face Memphis Grizzlies, they've lost their last 10 to Memphis, including the last four at Oracle.