January 12, 2015

Coming off their best offensive performance of the season, the Utah Jazz feel they're ready to take on the NBA's highest-scoring team.

The Golden State Warriors still have much at stake as well in Wednesday night's matchup with a Jazz team that's gaining confidence during its push for a playoff spot.

Utah has put itself into the postseason mix largely by shutting down opponents, but it couldn't be stopped in Monday's record-setting 123-75 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz made a franchise-best 17 3-pointers in 32 attempts to record a season-high point total.

Rodney Hood led the perimeter binge by going 8 of 9 from beyond the arc while scoring all of his 30 points in the first half, tying Jeff Hornacek and Randy Foye's team record for most 3s in a single game.

"I got a couple of clean looks and from there I just kept on shooting,'' Hood said. "The hoop looked really big."

Though such prolific displays have hardly been the norm for Utah (37-37), 28th in the NBA in scoring at 97.9 points per game, it's averaging 10.7 3-pointers and shooting 40.4 percent from distance over an 8-2 stretch that's vaulted it into seventh in the Western Conference.

The Jazz still can't match the marksmanship of Golden State, the league's leader with 963 triples and a 41.6 percent accuracy from long range. They haven't in three prior losses this season, in which the Warriors have gone a combined 36 of 82 on 3s, compared to 21 of 59 for the Jazz

While Utah, one game ahead of ninth-place Dallas, attempts to keep its tenuous hold on a playoff spot, Golden State (67-7) continues to chase history. The reigning NBA champions moved within six games of breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' single-season mark of 72 victories with Tuesday's 102-94 win over Washington.

''As you go through the season and kind of get lost in the journey, we should be able to accomplish both: be a better team and better our record, which we're on our way to doing," Stephen Curry said. "For us to be playing at such a high level for two straight years and have our eyes set on the ultimate goal, it's fun.''

The Warriors weren't at their best offensively, finishing 43.7 percent from the field, but came through with a 13-1 run to take an 87-73 lead with 9:32 remaining en route to their 54th straight regular-season home win.

Golden State, which lost at San Antonio on March 19 in the second half of its last back-to-back, plays five of its final eight at home.

Curry had 26 points and ended 6 of 8 from 3-point range. The 2015 league MVP has been mostly held in check by the Jazz this season, with his 18.0 scoring average and 39.1 field goal percentage for the series his lowest marks against any West team.

Klay Thompson has given Utah more trouble, hitting 12 of 22 3-pointers and averaging 21.0 points in the three wins. The All-Star guard was coming off consecutive 40-point outings in wins over Dallas and Philadelphia before being held to 16 on 7-of-19 shooting by the Wizards.

The Jazz counter with a defense that's yielding 88.2 points over their 10-game surge and limited Los Angeles to 30.6 percent in a loss that matched the worst in Lakers' history.

"As much as anything, you find emotion and energy when you play defense," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "As much as we were making shots, we were getting stops, too."

Golden State has won four straight and 10 of 11 in the series, including a 106-103 victory in Salt Lake City on Nov. 30, behind a tiebreaking 3-pointer from Curry with 52 seconds left.

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