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Warriors rally 16-16 to beat Jazz for playoff berth

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn’t stress the magnitude of Saturday’s game in his pregame interview with his team.

He didn’t have to.

Klay Thompson scored 36 points and Golden State erased a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 111-107 and clinch a playoff berth.

Jordan Poole added 31 and Andrew Wiggins had 17 as the Warriors also snapped a four-game losing streak. At 49-29, they hold a one-game lead over the Dallas Mavericks for the third seed in the Western Conference with four games remaining.

“We’ll do everything we can to win,” Warriors guard Gary Payton II said. “That’s our mindset.”

Utah, now tied with Denver for fifth place, could have moved within a game of third place with a win. Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley each had 26 for the Jazz.

It was an all-too-familiar story for the Jazz, who blew a 25-point lead in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. Utah has lost 15 games this season in which it held double-digit leads.

“I don’t think we’re in a good position for the last six minutes (of a game),” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s not a good feeling in the dressing room at the moment because the guys want to win.”

Trailing 103-87 with just under eight minutes left in the fourth, the Warriors raced 18-0 to take a 105-103 lead with 2:10 to go. Thompson hit three 3-pointers during the stretch.

“It felt like we had enough time, but we didn’t have a lot of momentum,” Kerr said. “…Amazing performances from our guys. I don’t know what else to say.

The Jazz had a chance to take the lead with 20 seconds remaining but Rudy Gobert threw a pass out of bounds after clearing a rebound. The Warriors put the game away at the free throw line.

Utah led up to 21 points in the first half and took a 58-45 locker room lead. Mitchell had 17 but he had plenty of assists, as the Utah bench outscored Golden State’s second unit 17-5 through the first two quarters.

Poole scored 19 first-half goals for the Warriors, including 14 in the second quarter. Then Thompson warmed up in the fourth quarter, whipping the Chase Center crowd into a frenzy with every 3-pointer he made. He was 8 for 17 from long range for the game.

“Dub Nation loves Klay,” Payton said.

ADVICE

Jazz: Conley scored 17 goals in the second half, hitting several big shots in the third quarter as the Warriors tried to eat away at Utah’s lead. … Gobert finished with 14 points and 19 rebounds. … Hassan Whiteside entered the game midway through the first quarter, his first action after missing the previous four games with a broken bone spur in his right foot.

Warriors: Although Stephen Curry is out for the rest of the regular season with a sprained foot, he cheered on his teammates from the sideline. The Warriors are 2-6 since his injury and 4-10 overall this season when he’s not playing. … Golden State committed 11 first-half turnovers that led to 17 points at Utah. … Kerr said forward Andre Iguodala will sit out Sunday’s game in Sacramento in an effort to keep the veteran fresh for the playoffs. … The Oakland Tech High School women’s basketball team, fresh out of a Division III state championship, attended the game as guests of the Warriors and received a standing ovation during a time died in the first quarter.

FOLLOWING

Jazz: Host Memphis on Tuesday to begin their final homestand of the season.

Warriors: Play in Sacramento on Sunday, looking to sweep the season series.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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