Utah Jazz show their stuff in win vs. Warriors
Utah proves it’s good as is in its final game before trade deadline.
Published: February 20, 2013 04:10PM
Updated: February 20, 2013 09:30AM
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Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Members of the Utah Jazz stretch before the game at EnergySolutions Arena Tuesday February 19, 2013.

If Tuesday was the last time the Jazz play a game as currently constituted, Executive Vice President Kevin O’Connor’s creation went out on a high note.

And if O’Connor and general manager Dennis Lindsey were looking for encouragement that these Jazz — who won’t play again until Saturday, two days after Thursday’s 1 p.m. trade deadline — are worth a look in the postseason, they might have just found it in the 115-101 win over Golden State that catapulted the Jazz (31-24) into sixth place in the Western Conference.

At least some players hope so.

“From the moment I got traded to this team,” Jazz forward Marvin Williams said, “I was really excited about what we had here. I feel like we’re showing the league what we’re capable of doing. Me personally, I really do hope everybody is here on Friday.”

Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 24 points, while Paul Millsap added 14 points and nine rebounds. The frontcourt pair have been most commonly brought up in trade rumors.

“They haven’t missed a beat, man,” Williams said. “You can tell out there on the court.”

The Jazz got one more regular back into the fold Tuesday when guard Gordon Hayward returned after missing 10 games with a sprained right shoulder. On one of his first possessions, Hayward was fouled hard going to the rim. He got up, moved his shoulder in a circular motion to check for pain and proceeded to score 17 points in 24 minutes.

“I was watching to see how he responded,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “I thought he did a great job.”

The Jazz have won three games in a row, including two before the All-Star Break. They had just one practice to get ready for the Warriors (30-23). Golden State started the season hot but has lost six straight to fall into a sixth-place tie with the Jazz in the Western Conference race.

Jefferson said that he imagined the Jazz, after losing Hayward and Mo Williams for extended periods of time, would have struggled more, perhaps fighting for any playoff spot rather than jockeying in the middle of the conference.

“We’re in higher position than we were before those guys went out,” he said. “This just show how deep this team is.”

Against the Warriors, the Jazz built a 10-point lead in the first half and withstood 14 second quarter points from Stephen Curry, who finished with a game-high 29 points.

Former University of Utah center Andrew Bogut, who has eased back into a starting role after missing most of the season with an injury, grabbed five rebounds but did not score in 15 minutes.

A Curry 3-pointer with 8:47 left in the third quarter cut the Jazz lead to 66-65, but the Jazz answered with eight straight points, including five from Jefferson. The Warriors didn’t get within six the rest of the game.

While the Jazz don’t need to play to keep their jobs it seemed for a while Tuesday as if that’s what they were doing. They seemed to play with more intensity and edge. With 4:54 remaining, Marvin Williams missed a corner 3-pointer in the corner. Derrick Favors, who scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds, dove out of bounds and saved the ball back to Williams who coolly swished a shot from the same spot.

The Jazz have 27 games remaining, including 14 at EnergySolutions Arena, where they are 21-6. The Jazz also 10 games remaining against the Eastern Conference.

Despite a busy March schedule, the slate of remaining games lines up favorably for the Jazz.

The last remaining question is which players will be around to enjoy it and, if things stick to script, the subsequent playoff run?

“I think that this group has played well together,” Randy Foye said. “We had a lot of key guys out. But it’s a business, a lot of guys get traded every single year, can’t do nothing about it.”

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Highlights

O The Jazz play their final game before Thursday’s trade deadline, beating Golden State 115-101.

• Gordon Hayward returns from injury to score 17 points in 24 minutes.

• The Jazz and Warriors are tied for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Jazz 115, Warriors 101

FG FT Reb

G.S. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Barnes 19:00 1-5 1-2 0-0 0 2 3

Lee 30:30 9-13 0-0 2-9 1 5 18

Bogut 15:04 0-4 0-0 2-5 1 2 0

Curry 37:32 12-22 1-1 2-5 4 3 29

Thompsn 34:26 6-11 3-4 2-7 0 0 15

Biedrins 15:48 1-1 0-0 0-2 1 6 2

Landry 18:11 2-4 1-1 1-5 0 1 5

Jack 32:42 6-11 6-6 0-2 9 0 19

Green 15:12 1-6 0-0 1-2 1 2 2

RJeffersn 7:49 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Ezeli 7:42 1-2 3-6 3-4 0 0 5

Bazemre 3:36 0-1 2-2 0-0 0 1 2

Jenkins 2:27 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Totals 239:59 39-83 18-24 13-42 17 22 101

Percentages: FG .470, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Curry 4-9, Jack 1-2, Green 0-1, R.Jefferson 0-1, Barnes 0-2, Thompson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 14 (21 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Biedrins, Ezeli, Lee). Turnovers: 13 (Jack 5, Curry 4, Barnes, R.Jefferson, Landry, Thompson). Steals: 5 (Barnes, Biedrins, Curry, Jenkins, Lee). Technical Fouls: Lee, 9:53 second; Defensive three second, 2:57 third.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

MaWllms 20:25 3-8 3-4 0-1 1 2 11

Millsap 30:31 5-10 4-4 2-9 1 2 14

AJeffrsn 31:34 11-18 2-3 1-5 1 0 24

Tinsley 18:40 1-3 1-2 1-3 5 2 4

Foye 29:17 4-9 4-4 0-2 1 1 15

Favors 21:07 4-7 6-6 2-4 2 5 14

Hayward 24:33 5-9 5-6 0-3 4 1 17

Watson 22:58 0-0 0-0 0-0 5 4 0

Kanter 11:21 0-4 1-2 2-3 1 2 1

Burks 25:14 5-8 1-2 0-5 2 3 13

Carroll 1:27 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Murphy 1:27 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Evans 1:27 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 240:01 39-78 27-33 8-35 23 23 115

Percentages: FG .500, FT .818. 3-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Foye 3-6, Burks 2-3, Ma.Williams 2-4, Hayward 2-5, Tinsley 1-3). Team Rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 11 (6 PTS). Blocked Shots: 8 (A.Jefferson 3, Hayward 2, Burks, Tinsley, Watson). Turnovers: 11 (Favors 2, Foye 2, A.Jefferson 2, Millsap 2, Burks, Hayward, Ma.Williams). Steals: 8 (Tinsley 3, Watson 3, Burks, Foye). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 10:54 fourth.

Golden State 19 34 26 22 — 101

Utah 26 32 29 28 — 115

Attendance • 18,231

Time • 2:08.

Officials • Monty McCutchen, Tony Brown, Curtis Blair.