Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry broke out of their slump on Thursday, combining for 62 points on 35 shots and grabbing six steals to lead Golden State to a comfortable 119-101 win over the Utah Jazz.
On top of that, the Warriors' backcourt had some help. Forward David Lee overcame a 2-for-12 start to finish with 23 points. He was a big reason Golden State racked up 71 second-half points, tying the mark for most points in a half by any team this season.
"We played Warriors basketball," Ellis said.
The Warriors registered their first two-game winning streak since knocking off Detroit and Cleveland in mid-January. With two days off before heading to Sacramento, the Warriors are in position for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Having won three of its last four, Golden State finishes with a split of the six-game home stand.
Of course, the Warriors got a big break from Utah, which played without its three top guards. Starting point guard Devin Harris (strained left hamstring), backup point guard Earl Watson (sprained left ankle) and defensive specialist Raja Bell (strained right abductor) all were out.
With no Bell to harass him, Ellis exploded for 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting. It was Ellis' biggest game since he scored 38 points at San Antonio on Jan. 4 and his first 30-point game since he scored 30 at New Jersey on Jan. 18. It was a far cry from the Ellis that had been showing up at Oracle Arena, who over his
Facing Utah's third-string point guard, Jamaal Tinsley, Curry racked up 29 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals. Curry managed just three points his last time out. Over the last two contests he'd totaled 18 points and had missed 8 of his last 10 3-point attempts.
"They are a dynamic backcourt that can score and, at their best, I would put them against anyone in the game," coach Mark Jackson said. "We know what they are capable of doing and the challenge to them is not to tease us."
Lee totaled 14 rebounds, including eight of the Warriors' 22 offensive rebounds. He and center Andris Biedrins (nine rebounds) helped the Warriors win the battle of the boards 47-43.
Lee and Ellis combined for 29 points in the third quarter as the Warriors turned a two-point halftime lead into an 88-77 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
"We let them get into an uptempo game in the third quarter," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "They were more aggressive and we didn't handle the situations well. They got running starts, made open shots and they feed off that. That's exactly what happened. They hit one, they hit two and they got a run going."
Golden State was rolling offensively -- 62.5 percent shooting in the third quarter, 11 assists on 15 baskets in the third quarter -- it didn't matter that Utah's Al Jefferson had gotten going. He scored 10 of his 19 points in the third.
Curry then scored 13 points in the fourth quarter as Golden State pulled away, building a lead as large as 23 points -- their largest lead of the season.
"We had some rhythm," Curry said. "We found some sets that we could really exploit ... We got some stops and got out in transition where we used our speed. That's where we're at our best."
"He's been consistent from Day 1," Jackson said. "And Dorell (Wright) early on struggled, so that could've been a realistic call even though I did not do it. Dorell has since played much better. Brandon continues to be consistent, playing great in his role. It never crossed my mind."
Jackson said there is no way he tinkers with his backcourt. Which leaves the only other places he could make a move is power forward or center. But he said no player has played "consistently enough for me to even entertain it."