Warriors finish off Jazz to stay impressive at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When the Golden State Warriors get into the groove they occupied in the second half against Utah, it's tough to remember how much they've struggled to accomplish the simplest basketball tasks all season.

And when the Jazz get stuck in the rut that trapped them in that same 24 minutes, it's difficult to imagine how they'll stay in the playoff race without injured stars Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko.

Corey Maggette scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the Warriors' latest impressive home victory, 116-96 on Sunday night.

Kelenna Azubuike scored 16 points and C.J. Watson added 14 for the Warriors, who routed Phoenix four days earlier in Oakland behind Jackson's first career triple-double. Coach Don Nelson had nothing to say about the rumors of Golden State's interest in a trade for the Suns' Amare Stoudemire, but he had remarkably unqualified praise for his youthful roster.

"We played a really good game when we moved the ball and did a lot of good things defensively," said Nelson, whose club committed a season-low eight turnovers. "I thought we were pretty good. Guys that I needed to step up, stepped up."

With Jackson again catalyzing the Warriors on both ends of the court, Golden State rolled past the Jazz with a 38-point third quarter and a strong finish, eventually going ahead by 25 in the waning minutes. Ronny Turiaf had 13 points filling in for injured starting center Andris Biedrins, while Monta Ellis scored 12 and Jamal Crawford had 11 -- all in the second half.

Utah's awful third quarter featured five turnovers and 8-for-21 shooting while Golden State repeatedly hit its open shots and went to the free-throw line 15 times.

"We're making progress, and that's really all you can ask for right now," said Jackson, who's on a statistical roll over the past four games. "We're right in every game. We have a chance to win every game. If we can continue to do that on the road, and protect our home, we're doing what we're supposed to do."

Deron Williams had 31 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Jazz, who slipped back into ninth place behind the Suns in the Western Conference with their first loss in four games. Utah has lost 10 of 12 on the road heading into a five-game homestand.

"We kind of laid down," Williams said. "The second half wasn't a good half for us. I didn't think we played too well in the first half, either. We didn't have any defensive principles.

"The way I've been taking care of the ball doesn't help, either," added Williams, who made six turnovers. "The last four games have been pretty disgusting to me. I'm trying to be aggressive, but at the same time, I get myself in some bad positions when I get myself in the air and have nowhere to go. I've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball."

Mehmet Okur had 21 points and nine rebounds, and C.J. Miles scored 10 points in his return to the Utah lineup after missing two games with bronchitis. But the Jazz repeatedly failed to exploit the NBA's worst defensive team by hitting open shots, leaving excitable coach Jerry Sloan riveted to the bench for most of the second half.

"They beat us every quarter," Sloan said. "It went wrong in every quarter. They just went out and annihilated us every time we tried to do something. They got after us defensively. We couldn't handle the basketball."

Golden State opened a 74-60 lead midway through the third with a 12-2 run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Crawford, who had no field goals in his first 23 minutes. Crawford hit both shots while falling onto his back with a defender in his face near the Golden State bench, thrilling the crowd.

Biedrins, who sprained his right ankle in Friday's loss, had missed just one game all season as the only durable regular in Nelson's injury-riddled rotation. Turiaf was a solid replacement, and rookie Anthony Randolph added six points and five rebounds in just 11 minutes of relief.

Ellis, in his ninth game back from the sprained ankle that sidelined him for five months, hit a fallaway jumper with 17 seconds left in the third to send Golden State into the final period with an 86-69 lead.

Game notes
Golden State opened a five-game homestand that stretches through the All-Star break. All told, the Warriors are in a stretch with nine of 11 games at home. ... The Jazz return to Oakland in three weeks. ... Utah G Brevin Knight sat out with a bruised left quadriceps.