Curry, Thompson lead Warriors past Jazz 130-102
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Klay Thompson scored 33 points, Stephen Curry added 31 points and 16 assists, and the Golden State Warriors eased past the Utah Jazz 130-102 Sunday night to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.
The streaky shooting backcourt tandem helped the Warriors (48-29) eclipse last season's win total and move 19 games over .500 for the first time in 20 years. Golden State remains 1 1/2 games behind fifth-place Portland and 1 1/2 games ahead of seventh-place Dallas in the crammed conference standings.
Even in the midst of the franchise's best season in two decades, not everything has gone smoothly for the Bay Area's beloved basketball team. For at least one night, though, the Warriors quieted the growing chatter about coach Mark Jackson's job status after the team parted ways with one of his assistants for the second time in less than two weeks.
The Warriors fired Darren Erman on Saturday for ''a violation of company policy,'' the team said. Erman's dismissal comes after Jackson reassigned assistant Brian Scalabrine to the team's NBA Development League affiliate in Santa Cruz on March 25 because of what Jackson called a ''difference in philosophies.''
Jackson spent about 15 minutes before the game defending the job he has done, saying there's ''no friction at all'' between him and management. He also said ''I'm absolutely convinced my future is just fine.''
The streaky shooting by Jackson's guard duo, which he has repeatedly proclaimed the ''greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history,'' quickly put the focus back on the court.
The Warriors made a season-high 17 3-pointers on 33 attempts. They outshot Utah 57.8 percent to 45.3 percent from the floor.
Curry made his first four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and six assists in the first quarter to give Golden State a 35-22 lead. After the Warriors went ahead 40-22 early in the second quarter, Utah took advantage of several misses and mistakes by Golden State's second unit to score 13 straight points.
Curry and Co. returned and restored order, ending the half with a 66-52 lead. Curry had 20 points and 11 assists at the break; Utah totaled 10 as a team during that span.
Thompson and Curry continued their scoring surge in the third quarter to lift the Warriors ahead 101-73 through three quarters. Both sat out the fourth.
Thompson finished 11-of-20 shooting, including 7 of 10 from 3-point range. Curry shot 12 of 18 from the floor and 5 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who had missed the past four games with a bruise in his pelvis and groin area, had six points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes. Power forward David Lee sat out for the sixth straight game with nerve inflammation in his right leg, and his status remains murky.
NOTES: The last time the Warriors were 19 games over .500 was when they held a 50-31 record near the end of the 1993-94 season. They finished 50-32. ... The Warriors swept the season series (4-0) against the Jazz for the first time. ... Golden State doesn't play again until hosting Denver on Thursday, while the Jazz face Dallas on Tuesday in Utah.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP