Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee, seen here on Dec. 5, both played well on Thursday against the Jazz. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Warriors go up early, hold on late vs. shorthanded Jazz

The Warriors trailed for the first two minutes of their game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday before seizing the lead and never looking back.

Golden State’s lead swelled to as many as 24 points, which made Utah’s late push to close the game within 10 points seem significant. But Kevin Durant and Ian Clark hit enough shots down the stretch to keep the home team at bay as the Dubs improved to 20-3 by winning, 106-99.

“I’m very pleased with where we are, but we have a lot of improvement left to do,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game.

Playing against a team missing its  two best scorers (Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood) and best distributor (George Hill), the Warriors were able to jump out to an early, large lead that was made possible by a 29-1 run. Stephen Curry scored 14 points during that span.

The reigning MVP led all scorers with 26 points. Kevin Durant finished with his eighth double-double of the season (21 points, 11 rebounds), and Draymond Green continued to shoot the ball well from deep as he connected on four of his six attempts from beyond the 3-point line.

Green did have a scare when he tweaked an ankle injury that forced him to miss games earlier this season. The do-everything forward said after the game that the injury hurt when he first came down on it, but that it improved with time.

“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “Once you’ve sprained an ankle in the season, it’s going to keep happening.  Until you really get time to strengthen it up in this profession we in, you don’t get much time to do that during the year. But, I’ll be fine.”

With the lead lessening in the fourth quarter, Durant scored nine-straight points for the Warriors. Clark then nailed a pair of 3-pointers to put the contest away. Clark played well enough to allow Klay Thompson rest late when he would normally re-enter the game.

But the game dragged as the Jazz tried anything they could to keep it going. Green and Durant shared a laugh on the floor with about 10 seconds remaining after KD was hit with a technical for arguing with officials.

“We was laughing at Quin Snyder kept calling timeouts,” Green explained. “Like, ‘Bro, you’re down 10 with 6 seconds left, it’s kind of over, my man.”

The Dubs continue their five-game road trip on Saturday when they play the Memphis Grizzlies.

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