SALT LAKE CITY — For the second straight night, the Utah Jazz played shorthanded, played hard and had several chances in the fourth quarter to give coach Tyrone Corbin his first head coaching victory.
But for the second straight game, they also failed to execute and hit shots in clutch situations, let an opposing player go off for more than 30 points and were on the short end of the scoreboard. This time, the Jazz fell to the Golden State Warriors, 107-100, dropping their fifth straight home game for the first time since the 1981-82 season.
"I'm mad that we lost, but I'm not mad with the way we played," said Jazz center Al Jefferson, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds. "(Tuesday) night and tonight we put ourselves in position to win the game, working with what we had, we're nine deep. We're looking forward to the (All-Star) break, getting everybody back healthy and we'll come at them and make a push."
The Jazz weren't making excuses for losing to the Warriors — but plenty were readily available. They once again had just nine players available with Mehmet Okur, Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell and Ronnie Price all out with injuries. They played a guard-oriented team for the second straight night while only having one guard, Earl Watson, coming off the bench.
The Jazz were also on the second night of a back-to-back.
"It was another decent effort," Corbin said. "The guys are shorthanded, but the guys busted their butts."
Some failed possessions in the fourth quarter prevented the Jazz from having their efforts pay off with a victory. Down 94-92, they missed four straight shots that would have either tied it or given them the lead. C.J. Miles had a couple of 3-pointers rim out, Paul Millsap missed a jump shot, and Jefferson didn't connect on a turnaround jumper.
Golden State's Monta Ellis, who had a game-high 35 points, eventually made the Jazz pay. He drilled a shot that had a high degree of difficulty. He was fouled by Earl Watson and made a basket falling backward from about 20 feet away. He sank the free throw to convert the three-point play and put the Warriors ahead 97-92 with 3:23 left in the game.
"He hurt us a lot," Corbin said of Ellis. "He hurt us off the dribble, hit some 3-point shots. He's a tremendous player and been scoring a lot of points of late."
Ellis has led a resurgent Golden State team that's won seven of its last nine games, including six straight victories over teams with winning records.
"It was a big game for us," Ellis said. "We treated it like it was a playoff game and we came out and played together and got the win."
It was also a big game for the Jazz, who wanted to get Corbin his first win and go into the All-Star break on a high note. But they didn't have enough healthy bodies, and didn't get enough production out of the guys who did play. Deron Williams (18), Millsap (22), Jefferson (23) and Miles (20) scored in double figures, but the bench contributed just 12 points.
"We definitely need everybody," Williams said. "We're down to nine people; people are playing out of position, and we're missing our two best defenders (Kirilenko and Bell). That's a big part of our team right there.
"It's tough. We've had injury-plagued seasons before, and we have figured out ways to win. We've got to keep doing it."
Williams, who became the fourth player in Jazz history to record 4,000 career assists, had his 27th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 assists. He again struggled shooting, though, making 5-of-13 attempts.
"I don't have any confidence in my shot right now, but I am trying to do whatever I can to win the game," Williams said.72 comments on this story
Williams helped give the Jazz a chance to win late in the game when he hit a 3-pointer to make it 103-100 with 52.7 seconds left. After Stephen Curry scored on a reverse layup, Williams tried to draw a foul on another 3-point attempt with 26.5 seconds remaining. He didn't get the call, and the Warriors put the game away.
Although the Jazz didn't win, Corbin believes they're still headed in the right direction.
"We pressed a little bit (late in the game) and now we've got to come out (after the All-Star break) ready to go in the second half," Corbin said.