SALT LAKE CITY -- The Warriors were on the verge of another bad loss Friday night but turned it on just in time to take down the Utah Jazz 95-90.
Playing without injured starting forward David Lee and on the road to complete the second half of a back-to-back fresh off an emotional win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State looked primed for a letdown.
The Warriors spent the better half of the game trailing against a Utah team playing without two starters and sporting the third-worst record in the Western Conference.
But Stephen Curry scored a season-high 44 points -- including 30 in the second half -- and a 12-0 Warriors run in the fourth quarter served as the catalyst to help them win back-to-back games for the first time since their 10-game winning streak was snapped on Jan. 8.
"The good teams play their best after they play their best," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said, referring to Thursday's 111-92 win over the Clippers. "The challenge was for us to respond after a big win over the Clippers and put forth the same type of energy and effort, and I thought the second half was great."
Andrew Bogut had 16 points, 17 rebounds and a team-high five assists. He also had three blocks and two steals in 36 strong minutes. He said this was a no-style-points-required victory.
"Just because we beat the Clippers yesterday and played really well and looked great on TV, we don't get two wins for that," Bogut said. "We come into Utah and we beat a team we're supposed to beat, we don't get half a win for that. A win in this league is like gold. You've got to cherish it no matter who it's against."
That win didn't look like it was coming when the Warriors trailed by nine points in the fourth quarter against Utah, which was without Marvin Williams (Achilles) and Derrick Favors (hip).
But Curry delivered two 3-pointers -- part of an 8-for-13 night from beyond the arc -- during the 12-0 run. The Warriors finally grabbed a 79-77 lead on a reverse layup by Bogut with 6:55 left.
Golden State led by as much as four, but the Jazz came back and retook the lead at 88-87 with 2:18 to play. Curry answered with a high-banking layup to put the Warriors on top with 2:02 left and a Utah turnover led to two Klay Thompson free throws to make it 91-88 with 1:37 to go.
The teams exchanged a pair of misses, and Utah called timeout with 29.3 seconds to play, but the Jazz committed its 19th turnover of the night when Gordon Hayward lost control of the ball out of bounds. Curry hit a pair of free throws that essentially wrapped up the game.
"We got a little stagnant for 21/2 quarters and obviously had heavy legs from the back-to-back, but we dug in and found a way to not only get baskets but get timely stops down the stretch," Curry said.
The Warriors' All-Star hopes this can be the start of another winning streak.
"We just haven't been able to put back-to-back games together," Curry said. "It's a big moment to hopefully establish that momentum back and get back to playing tough Warriors basketball."
Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.
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