Struggling Golden State ‘outworked’ by Utah Jazz
Published: February 20, 2013 11:18AM
Updated: February 20, 2013 12:05AM

It isn’t quite time for the Golden State Warriors to panic.

There are two months remaining in the regular season, more than enough ground for coach Mark Jackson’s team to regain the momentum that made the Warriors one of the most talked about teams in the NBA.

But if it isn’t time to panic, it’s certainly the time for Golden State to be overly concerned. With Tuesday night’s 115-101 loss to the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena, the Warriors are now losers of six consecutive games.

They have now fallen into a tie with Utah for the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference. A season that looked potentially magical has now made a dramatic turn. The theory was that Golden State was burnt out and simply needed the All-Star break to regroup. The Warriors went a long way towards debunking that theory with shoddy defense and careless offense.

“We were outworked once again,” Jackson said. “Once again, defensively we were not sharp. We didn’t take care of the basketball in stretches. It was another uncharacteristic performance by us, and we need to find ourselves.”

Suddenly, Golden State finds itself in danger of doing what was once thought to be impossible — sliding out of the postseason race altogether. The Warriors are still five games away from thinking about that, so all still appears safe.

But there is no question that Jackson’s crew is playing the shakiest basketball of any team currently in the Western Conference playoff hunt.

“It’s been small little breakdowns,” Golden State center Andrew Bogut said. “Each person does something different.”

Right now, the Warriors are far too dependent on the scoring of Stephen Curry and David Lee. Offensively, they aren’t getting much out of the small forward spot, and they are turning the ball over way too much.

And that’s the good news.

Defensively, Golden State has been horrid. It’s fitting that the All-Star break has just passed, because the Warriors played All-Star Game-quality defense against the Jazz, allowing seven double-figure scorers, 50 percent shooting from the field and 115 total points.

Jackson said he won’t make sweeping changes. But he did say he would make his players earn minutes, hold them accountable if you will.

“The most important thing is that we win,” Lee said. “Whatever Coach decides to do, we have his back. We’ve been with him all season and that’s not going to change. I trust that he’ll make the right decisions, whatever they may be.”

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib