OAKLAND, Calif. — Even when they were in the game, they didn't look like it. The Utah Jazz (28-20), after snapping their season-high six-game losing streak Friday against Minnesota, didn't have much in the tank for their road game against the Golden State Warriors (20-27) Sunday night.
The Warriors shot 49 percent from the field, and outhustled the Jazz for a 96-81 victory at Oracle Arena.
Raja Bell got out of his scoring slump and scored in double figures for the first time since scoring 15 against Cleveland Jan. 14. After making just four of his previous 26 attempts, Bell scored 12 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field. Unfortunately, the rest of the team may have slid into a funk of their own. For the game, the Jazz shot 37 percent from the field and had their shots blocked 10 times.
Coach Jerry Sloan attributed their poor shooting to a lack of energy and not taking advantage of their inside game.
"We've lacked [energy] for some time," said Sloan. "That's where we've had some problems with our ability to get out and run the floor. We'd like to see if we can get layups. If you run down the floor and look for 20-foot jumpshots, we're not quick enough to get back to the other end if we don't make it."
Sloan was more than a little disappointed with the way his team played on the night. Despite his best efforts to relay what he wanted from them, the players didn't respond accordingly.
"Just taking shots, for the sake of shots does not give you a chance to win," said the Jazz head coach.
"That's losing basketball," continued Sloan. "That's street ball."
Paul Millsap didn't seem to know what his coach was talking about in terms of playing without energy.
"I thought we actually got out there and tried to play them," said Millsap. "I thought we got out and tried to run with them. We just missed some shots, some shots that we normally make."
Al Jefferson's double-double led the way for the Jazz, with his team-high 16 points, and 14 rebounds. While four players on the Jazz did score in double-digits, their lack of consistency from the floor hindered their overall production. Only Andrei Kirilenko (4-8 FG, 1-2 3PT) and Earl Watson (3-6 FG, 2-3 3PT) hit the 50-percent mark in shooting efficiency.
Bell may have transferred his shooting slump over to the Warriors guard he was defending, Monta Ellis, who leads the Warriors in scoring with 25.7 points per game but only scored two points on the night against Bell.
"I don't take too much credit for that," said Bell humbly. "I think ultimately, what I may have done that helped was try to keep it out of his hands early, then other guys got cooking and they weren't going to him consistently enough, maybe, to get him going."
While Bell won't take credit for holding Ellis to two points, Sloan felt he did a good job.
"He has always been a good defender for us as long as he has been here," he said. "He is matched up often with a lot of tough guys and he knows how to battle through a screen."
Utah got behind early, when Golden State started with an 8-2 run early in the first. The Jazz kept it close with the two teams going back and forth early, but the Warriors were able to extend their lead to 14 points midway through the second period. The Jazz fought back to get within four by the end of the half.
With 1:25 remaining in the third, the Jazz were within striking distance, down 62-66, but after a 15-5 Warriors run, they would never get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Utah returns home to face the Charlotte Bobcats tonight.
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