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With Klay out and Steph slumping, Warriors supporting cast step in to edge Jazz

The big question after last game’s buzzer beater—would Stephen Curry’s game-winning shot snap the Warriors and himself out of their shooting slumps?

Well, Curry struggled Sunday night, shooting just 1-of-13 from distance, but everyone else in a Warriors uniform picked up their leader and shot 12-of-29 from 3 to survive 94-92 against the Utah Jazz.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.

Steve Kerr said that nothing physically looks wrong with Curry, the shots just aren’t falling like they usually do:

I think Steph looks great physically. I think the last few games he’s playing some of his best basketball in terms of handling the point guard duties. I don’t know what his assist-to-turnover ratio is over the last three of four games, but I think it’s phenomenal. He’s playing great defense. Shots just aren’t going. He’s human.

The Warriors (34-13) scraped together just 11 points in the fourth quarter but were able to barely hang on as their defense held the Jazz (30-17) to just 17 points of their own.

Curry couldn’t replicate any magic from Friday and missed a 3 with 40 seconds left to put the game away.

Then he sagged too far off of Bojan Bogdanovich the following possession and gave up an easy 3 to cut the Warriors lead to just two.

Bogdanovich had a chance to win the game for the Jazz but his step-back rimmed just out and the follow tip by Royce O’Neal touched every part of the rim before falling out as time expired.

Kevon Looney was the defender on that last second shot, and he did it all down the stretch for the Warriors.

Kerr mentioned Looney immediately at the post-game press conference:

Loon was amazing. One-on-one switching onto Bogdanovich and forced a really tough 3 point shot. And then Loon’s putback and 3-point play was the key offensive possession of the game.

And though it was good defense at the end, it also was a lucky break for Golden State, who have needed a bunch of luck to start this homestand 2-1 even though they’ve played well for essentially just four of their last 12 quarters.

It didn’t seem luck was on their side before the game as Klay Thompson was a late scratch after experiencing some soreness and swelling in his surgically-repaired left knee.

That’ll be something to monitor carefully over the next few games.

In his place Jordan Poole was thrown back into the starting lineup and immediately reverted back to the confident, knockdown shooter he showed in the beginning parts of the season.

He totaled 20 points on an efficient 7-of-13 shooting, with four 3’s and looked in control the whole game.

Poole said that while he was cooking on offense, it was the team defense that was the most impressive:

It’s a huge win, especially because we were able to rely on our defense. We know how talented we are in terms of scoring the ball… It just shows who we are as a team, and it really paid off tonight.

Poole had a nasty stepback over Jordan Clarkson that made the rounds on Twitter, but had some less flashy finishes and shots over Rudy Gobert as well.

This is the fourth straight start Poole has scored at least 20 points, which is in stark contrast to how he’s played off the bench.

In his last four games off as a reserve, Poole is averaging just 7.7 points per game and shooting a combined 25 percent from the field.

The Warriors have been confident that the sixth man role would be perfect for Poole, but it’s shown to be anything but.

He’s much more passive when he enters the game midway through a quarter, and that waters down every other part of his game.

When he’s not aggressive, he’s almost unplayable. And you would think these games without Thompson playing, like every back-to-back or Sunday night’s contest, would be good for Poole to get back in a rhythm.

But it actually might be doing more damage as he’s never able to fully concentrate on being that sparkplug off the bench and continually shifting back into being a starter.

Steve Kerr and the rest of the coaching staff will have to find some way to get him comfortable, because with Thompson back, it’s the role Poole needs to play.

Up Next

The homestand continues to roll on for the Warriors, as they’ll play host to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks (27-20) Tuesday. Dallas has been on a roll lately winning eight of their last 10 games.

Notes

Damion Lee was the only bench player in double-figures Sunday, he finished with 12 points all on 3’s to help lift the Warriors. It’s been a rough month for Lee as this is just the third time he’s been able to break double-figures in January.


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