Warriors-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 25, 2012
The Golden State Warriors didn't appear to be bothered by a loss in their final game before Christmas. They've done a good job of quickly putting almost all of their defeats behind them. The Warriors try to avoid dropping back-to-back games for the first time in well over a month Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, winners of 10 of 12 in this series at home. One night after cruising to a 115-100 win over Charlotte, Golden State (18-10) let a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead slip away Saturday in a 118-115 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Jarrett Jack posted season highs of 29 points and 11 assists off the bench while David Lee scored 20 to go along with 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who were outscored 56-38 in the paint. "This will not put a damper on our Christmas spirits," coach Mark Jackson said. "We're excited about where we're at, and we're excited about where we're headed." Despite the setback, the second-place Warriors, who haven't lost back-to-back contests since Nov. 9 and 10, sit four games ahead of the third-place Lakers in the Pacific Division and are starting to look more and more like legitimate contenders. "We got a group that - they don't like losing," Jackson said. "And it's important, individually and collectively, to stop the bleeding after a loss, after a tough outing. You don't want to make it two tough outings, or three tough outings - what you want to do is stop it right away, and this team has been very good at doing that." Much of Golden State's success is due to a much-improved effort on the road. The Warriors have gone 10-6 as the visiting team and again have a chance to match their 11 road victories from 2011-12. Wins in Salt Lake City, however, haven't been easy to come by. In addition to dominating this series at home, the Jazz (15-14) have taken nine of 11 on their own court this season. Utah entered Sunday having dropped four of five but regrouped to win 97-93 at Orlando in its first game since losing point guard Mo Williams for what is expected to be a significant chunk of time. Williams suffered a sprained right thumb the previous night in a 105-89 loss at Miami. "It is tough, you don't wish that on anybody," said veteran Jamaal Tinsley, who had 11 points and four assists while starting in place of Williams. "This is just the nature of the beast. I get another opportunity to go out there and play. We want him to get well and come back soon. ... We just have to figure out a way to win ballgames and do the right thing." Earl Watson, who dished out a season best-tying eight assists off the bench against the Magic, should also see plenty of minutes with Williams sidelined. "Jamaal and Earl (Watson) came in and did a tremendous job for us," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They pushed the pace, they were getting the ball up the floor, advancing the ball, (and) they did a good job attacking the basket. ... Those guys are true professionals. They do everything they can to help us win." The Jazz are now 4-1 without Williams. Tinsley has averaged 7.2 assists while running the show in each of those games. Utah, which has been limited to an average of 88.7 points over its last six contests, could have its hands full against a Warriors team that's won 12 straight when holding opponents to 98 or fewer.
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