Warriors

Jazz take control in 4th, defeat Warriors 104-98

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Jazz take control in 4th, defeat Warriors 104-98

Player(s) of the Game: Al Jefferson, who did not play in Utah's 99-92 overtime victory over the Warriors on St. Patrick's Day, registered 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks to help the Jazz keep pace in the race for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Jefferson wasn't alone, however, as point guard Devin Harris scored a season-high 28 points, including a career-best five made 3-pointers. He entered the game averaging just eight points over his previous five contests, and was shooting just under 33 from beyond the arc prior to tonight (he was 5-for-8 in this one).

Key stretch: The Warriors led 80-78 entering the fourth quarter, but Utah used a 18-6 run to take a 96-86 lead with just over 4:30 remaining.

Dorell Wright missed an open three with 21 seconds remaining that would have cut the Jazz lead to one. The shot looked dead on, but hit the front rim and skipped over and out.

Second quarter runs: The Warriors trailed 28-25 at the end of the first quarter, but made their first four 3-point attempts in the second, igniting an 18-2 run and a 43-30 lead.

However, the Jazz responded with a run of their own, dominating the final seven minutes of the half to tie it at 55-55.

Klay gets hot: Rookie Klay Thompson missed his first five shots, but finally got a jumper to go with 1:28 remaining in the first half.

The jumper gave him some confidence, as he netted 10 3rd-quarter points, and 11 4th-quarter points to finish with 23 -- the most he has scored since dropping 31 on the Kings on Mar. 24.

Entering the game, Thompson was 3rd in the league among rookies in scoring since Mar. 25, averaging 14.3 points per game.

Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (20.1) and Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas (17.9) are the only two rookies ahead of Thompson.

Career night for Tyler: Rookie center Jeremy Tyler set a career high with 14 points, 10 of which came in the first half.

His five rebounds and nine field-goal attempts were both the second highest totals on the season.

Jenkins with an ankle problem? Charles Jenkins seemed to be favoring his ankle in the fourth quarter and clearly wasn't playing at full strength.

The rookie from Hofstra had a very solid 1st quarter with 8 points and 2 assists, but picked up his third foul with 1:36 remaining in the opening period.

Mark Jackson inserted him back into the game late in the second quarter, but his foul trouble (along with an apparent ankle issue), slowed him down the rest of the way.

He finished with 8 points and 7 assists.

It may come as a surprise that entering the game, Jenkins was the 5th leading scorer among rookies since Mar. 25, at 13.9 points per game.

Thompson and Jenkins -- a starting rookie backcourt that is gaining valuable experience.

Notes:

Steve Kerr uses playing cards as his latest pregame prop for Warriors news

Steve Kerr uses playing cards as his latest pregame prop for Warriors news

For his latest trick, Steve Kerr brought out a deck of cards Friday night in Oakland. 

With Kevin Durant and Draymond Green out against the Bulls, Kerr was ready to announce who would replace them. Get your phones ready reporters.

"You guys ready to tweet?" Kerr asked reporters. "We're gonna start Omri and Jordan Bell." 

Kerr then began to shuffle his deck of cards and said, "As soon as you're down tweeting, we'll resume human contact. But in the meantime, stare at your phones, ignore me, I'm just practicing my shuffling." 

Casspi, in his first year with the Warriors, is averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game through 15 games. The rookie Bell has played in 12 games and is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. 

Friday night is Bell's first career start. 

Kerr's pregame prop list now includes a nail clipper, a Rubbik's cube, a slinky, and playing cards. 

Bell, Casspi to start in absence of All-Stars

Bell, Casspi to start in absence of All-Stars

OAKLAND -- The massive task of replacing All-Star forwards Kevin Durant and Draymond Green in the Warriors lineup Friday night against the Bulls falls to veteran Omri Casspi and rookie Jordan Bell.

It’s the first career start for Bell, who was a healthy scratch in each of the last three games. He will be facing the team that drafted him last June specifically to sell his rights to the Warriors for $3.5 million.

“I’ve been wanting to get him active and play him anyway,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said prior to tipoff. “But with Draymond out, to me, it’s a pretty easy choice.”

Bell indicated he would not be particularly motivated against the team that drafted him, adding that he won’t be seeking any sort of vindication.

“They made it clear that they didn’t want me, so I don’t take it to heart,” Bell said after shootaround Friday morning. “They didn’t draft me and sell me. They just drafted me for the Warriors.”

Though Durant is out to rest his left ankle, sprained last Saturday in Philadelphia, Green simply has been given the night off. Kerr indicated there will be other occasions for which he will rest Green.

Durant missed only one game last week but returned Wednesday at Oklahoma City. His ankle did not respond well in the wake of that game, so he gets another day off.

Casspi replaced Durant in the starting lineup last Sunday at Brooklyn, producing 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks over 23 minutes.

This is the first absence of the season for Green. It won’t be the last, as Kerr plans to rest all starters at various points of the season.