Before April 11, only seven teams have left with a victory at Energy Solutions Center Arena in Salt Lake City.
C.J. Watson, who led all scorers with a career-high 38 points, said, “We just wanted to come in a play hard, play tough and match their intensity. They play pretty hard at home, but we came out, played hard, and fought for the win."
The ailing Warriors stunned the sell-out crowd with a 64-51 lead at halftime.
With Watson controlling the tempo, Anthony Morrow showing his vast improvement on defense, Kelenna Azubuike continuing his formidable play in the last few games, and Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Rob Kurz, and Anthony Randolph protecting the rim, the Warriors were set on a late-season upset of a team that desperately needed the win to move up the congested Western Conference standings.
Morrow had 13 points, including a huge three-point play with two minutes left in regulation to give the Warriors a much needed cushion after the a 13-2 run by the Jazz.
Turiaf had nine points, while Biedrins had eight. Randolph finished the night with 13 points.
Kurz had a new career-high with 21 points, as he rebounded beautifully and played tremendous defense on Andre Kirilenko.
The Warriors front court throughout the game performed their task extremely well as Turiaf, Biedrins, Randolph, and Kurz combined for 27 rebounds, 49 points, and terrific defense.
Turiaf showed the entire package today from running the floor (three transition dunks in the first half), passing, altering and blocking shots, while taking care of Carlos Boozer down low.
Biedrins, with his high basketball IQ, seemed rusty, but had some very key rebounds at the end of the game to seal the victory. At one point in the game, the Warriors lead by 18.
As a result of the extremely thin availability of players for Don Nelson and his coaching staff to work with, the Warriors could not have played a bigger lineup towards the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.
Morrow and Randolph shared handling responsibilities in the back court, Kurz played at the Shooting Forward position, while Biedrins and Turiaf finally were on the court together.
The Turiaf-Biedrins tandem proves to be a proven successful front court solution for the Warriors. If Nelson can land another center in the off-season, there will be no excuse to consider Turiaf and Biedrins pairing up next year in the front court.
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