Warriors storm Salt Lake, stun sagging, lifeless JazzApr 12, 2009 - 4:45 AM SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Long after being knocked out of the playoff race, a hodgepodge lineup of Golden State Warriors may have just dictated where Utah will be opening the postseason.
The Warriors - all seven of them - beat the Jazz 118-108 on Saturday night, keeping Utah mired in eighth place in the Western Conference with only two games remaining in the regular season.
"We want to play loose and play fast. That's what we've been doing," said C.J. Watson, who scored a career-high 38 points to lead the Warriors.
Watson also had nine assists for the second straight night and pulled down seven rebounds as Golden State stunned Utah at the start and never let up when the Jazz tried to rally.
Robert Kurz added a career-best 21 points for Golden State, which led by as much as 18 and never let the playoff-bound Jazz get closer than five despite being at a disadvantage with only seven healthy players.
Still, the Warriors' reserves - Kurz and Ronny Turiaf - nearly outscored Utah's.
"They had us under control all night," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They're a team that takes a lot of outside shots. But we tried to match and we didn't make them and kind of got into a little panic situation."
Deron Williams had 26 points and 14 assists before leaving in the final minute, holding his ribs with a strained muscle in his side. Carlos Boozer added 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, in danger of drawing the Lakers in the first round.
The Warriors suited up the minimum eight players for the second straight game, but only seven were healthy enough to play.
"It was a good win for our 'Magnificent Seven' to come out and play on a back-to-back," said assistant Keith Smart, who coached the Warriors on Saturday.
The Jazz (47-33) have only two games remaining and will need to win both and get help from either New Orleans or Dallas if they are going to move up from the No. 8 seed.
Utah had a great opportunity Saturday, trailing Dallas and New Orleans by a game a day before the Mavericks and Hornets meet in New Orleans. But the Warriors didn't concede anything.
"This is bad," Williams said. "I just don't know what's going on right now with us. We're just limping into the playoffs. It's like we're kind of content with being there and being the eighth seed instead of trying to better ourselves."
Kelenna Azubuike scored 18, Anthony Morrow added 13 points and Anthony Randolph 11 for Golden State. Turiaf added nine points and combined with Kurz to give the Warriors' reserves 30 points, only one fewer than the five Jazz backups managed to score.
The Warriors shot 68 percent in the second quarter while outscoring Utah 36-20 and taking a 64-51 lead at halftime.
By the time Utah made a run in the fourth quarter, it was too late.
"We just played loose," said Kurz, who went 10-for-16 from the floor. "We realized that we are out of the playoffs and had nothing to lose. We just played fearlessly and played together."
Andrei Kirilenko made a field goal, then drew a foul on the next possession. He made the first free throw and missed the second, but Mehmet Okur was there to put back the rebound and get Utah within 101-89 with 7:14 left in the game.
After Williams made two foul shots to get Utah within 103-91, the Jazz got a break when Watson ran headfirst into Kurz's screen and lost the ball. Williams scooped it up and fed Kirilenko for an easy dunk, then Kyle Korver added a free thrown when Smart was called for a technical.
Okur banked in a short jumper to cut it to 103-98, but he fouled Morrow under the other basket as Morrow put back an offensive rebound with 2:37 left.
GOLDEN STATE 118
UTAH 108 FINAL
Apr 11 11:34 PM
GOLDEN STATE 93
UTAH 76 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 11 10:55 PM
GOLDEN STATE 64
UTAH 51 HALFTIME
Apr 11 10:07 PM
GOLDEN STATE 28
UTAH 31 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 11 9:37 PM
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