Warriors guard Monta Ellis finished with two points Sunday against the visiting Utah Jazz. He took nine shots and made one, a runner in the lane in the second half.
Normally, that would mean a loss for the Warriors. Instead, they won going away, 96-81 in front of 18,187 at Oracle Arena.
"The guy's incredible," Warriors coach Keith Smart said of Ellis. "He just had one of those nights. It rained today. Why did it rain? Who knows? Blame it on the rain."
Much of the credit for the win over the Jazz, which snapped the Warriors' four-game losing streak, could be attributed to three factors. No. 1, Utah was without its best player, point guard Deron Williams. Secondly, while the Warriors got little from Ellis, point guard Stephen Curry picked up the slack, totaling 27 points.
And the third factor -- it's a doozy -- was center Andris Biedrins neutralizing Utah's expected advantage inside.
Jazz big man Al Jefferson did have 16 points and 14 rebounds, but he was 6 for 18 from the field, and his production was offset by Biedrins, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
It was Biedrins' second straight game reaching double digits in points and rebounds. Biedrins hadn't recorded back-to-back double-doubles since January 2009.
"I know what I have to do, and now I'm finally getting on track," said Biedrins, who also had three of the Warriors' season-high-tying 10 blocks.
Utah had a hard time scoring without Williams. The Jazz shot 37.2 percent from the field and produced just 36 second-half points.
Golden State didn't have such problems on offense, thanks largely to Curry, whom Smart told not to "defer" anymore. Curry was 10 for 18 from the field and totaled seven assists and six rebounds. He's scored at least 20 points in five of his past six games.
They were all needed as Ellis had one of his worst nights as a pro. The last time he had two points in a game was Feb. 4, 2009, against Phoenix, when he played 28 minutes and missed all seven shots.
Smart said Ellis was not injured or fatigued, and he Smart didn't give credit to Jazz guard and former Warrior Raja Bell, who chased Ellis around most of the night. Smart did point out that Ellis didn't keep chucking away.
"That's the growth of him," Smart said. "Not trying to force the issue, to make it happen. He allowed himself to be a decoy because he's still a threat."
Riding the back of Curry, the Warriors pushed their lead to 10 points midway through the third quarter. He capped a 7-0 Warriors run with a layup and a pull-up 3-pointer, giving the Warriors a 62-52 advantage inside of six minutes left. Utah cut the Warriors' lead to three, but Golden State made a push at the end of the quarter.
A basket by Utah's Bell made the score 64-61 Warriors. But Curry capped another Warriors run. His bank shot and two free throws ended a 7-0 spurt that sent the Warriors into the fourth quarter ahead 71-61.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors pushed that lead to 15, after the second of back-to-back 3-pointers by swingman Reggie Williams gave the Warriors an 81-66 advantage with nine minutes left in the game. That was all she wrote for the Jazz.
The Warriors (20-27) can enter their three days off feeling pretty good.
Curry said "practice was going to be a lot tougher" if the Warriors would have had three days off after losing to the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday.
"Guys were going to be pressing to turn it around in practice though there was nothing we could do about it for three days. Now we can feel a little bit better and go into practice with an upbeat attitude."
Here is how the Warriors have fared midway through their eight-game homestand:
Date Opp. Result (Rec.)
Jan. 24 San Antonio L, 113-102
Jan. 26 New Orleans L, 112-103
Jan. 28 Charlotte L, 121-113
Jan. 30 Utah W, 96-81
Thurs. Milwaukee (19-26)
Sat. Chicago (33-14)
Feb. 7 Phoenix (22-24)
Feb. 9 Denver (28-19)
Milwaukee (19-26) at Warriors (20-27), 7:30 p.m., CSNBA
Warriors look to improve their rebounding. Page 4