OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — With the playoffs approaching, Stephen Curry fully expects more out of Golden State over the next three weeks.
That might not be a good sign for the rest of the Western Conference.
Curry bounced back from his worst shooting performance of the season to score 24 points, Leandro Barbosa added a season-high 19 off the bench and the Warriors pulled away late to beat the Utah Jazz 106-91 on Saturday night.
“Coach (Steve Kerr) is probably going to treat a lot of games … as playoff-like as possible,” Curry said. “We just have to play hard, (do) whatever is asked of us these last 13 games, be mentally locked in and focused and continue to win. You don’t want to stumble into the playoffs.”
One day after shooting 4 of 17 in a win over New Orleans, Curry went 8 for 18 from the floor against a Utah defense that had been the NBA’s stingiest over the past three weeks. He also showed a little grit after sitting out the first 7 minutes of the fourth quarter when he crashed to the floor after being fouled hard by Derrick Favors.
Curry is likely to get more of that treatment as the postseason draws near, which is why Kerr has been careful to get his All-Star guard some rest.
Barbosa’s big night helped the Warriors keep rolling while Curry sat. It also helped offset the loss of Klay Thompson, who remains sidelined with a foot injury.
“LB was great,” Kerr said. “What we’ve been most impressed with is his defense. He’s gotten dramatically better, both on and off the ball. He’s just such a burst of energy off the bench.”
Draymond Green added 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Warriors (56-13), who have the best record in the NBA.
Favors had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz. Utah lost for only the fourth time since the All-Star break.
The Jazz trailed the entire game but stayed close enough to keep the Warriors from letting up.
“The ball is sticking too much on the perimeter for us,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I didn’t think we were very good at reading what we wanted to do before the catch. The ball stopped and then you get locked in.”
Trey Burke’s 3-pointer pulled Utah to 89-83 with 8:30 remaining.
Andrew Bogut, kept quiet most of the night while going against 7-foot-1 Utah center Rudy Gobert, helped Golden State pull away with four points as part of an 8-2 run that pushed the Warriors’ lead to 97-85.
Golden State, which clinched a playoff berth earlier in the week, needs three more victories to tie the franchise record.
Getting No. 56 was tough, even at home.
Utah had held 11 of its previous 12 opponents to 88 points or fewer, and the Jazz defense gave Golden State trouble early.
The Warriors were held to 19 points in the first quarter and were clinging to a 36-35 lead late in the second when Curry took over.
Curry scored 11 points over the final 3 1/2 minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play when he flipped the ball in while falling to the floor. Curry later scored on a runner in the lane that put the Warriors up 49-40.
Green scored eight straight points in the third and Barbosa added a layup and 3-pointer to help Golden State extend its lead to 86-71.
Jazz: Utah missed 11 of its first 16 shots but trailed only 19-15 at the end of the first quarter. … Burke made three of his five 3-pointers in the third quarter. … The Jazz have lost four straight at Oracle Arena since April 7, 2013.
Warriors: Thompson sat out a third consecutive game with a sprained right foot. He will be re-evaluated Sunday. … Golden State is 37-0 when holding opponents under 100 points.
Jazz: Host Minnesota on Monday.
Warriors: Host Washington on Monday.