LOS ANGELES, December 1- Stephen Curry scored 26 points as the Golden State Warriors survived a furious late onslaught from the Utah Jazz on Monday to stretch their record-breaking unbeaten season start to 19 games.
Reigning NBA MVP Curry came to the Warriors rescue once again, producing a superb three-pointer with seconds left to put Golden State ahead 104-101 just moments after Utah had leveled.
It was yet another moment of inspiration from Curry, a talismanic figure for the reigning NBA Champions who have now edged one game closer to the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time winning streak record of 33 games.
“This ranks up there. There have been some battles. We have had some lopsided victories, too,” said Curry.
“What gets lost in the record are the tough games that we have had to claw our way out of. Like tonight. Hard-fought win to start the road trip.”
Curry contributed six rebounds and five assists as the Warriors held their nerve in the face of a spirited Utah performance at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were the other standouts for the Warriors, contributing 20 points each. Green also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
The defeat saw Utah’s season record fall to 8-8.
Utah’s points came through Gordon Hayward (24) and power forward Derrick Favors (23) while center Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
“It was fun. We knew this was going to be one of the tougher challenges for us,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “(Utah) is very well-coached and they execute. They’ve got those bigs (Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert) that are a lot to deal with. Their crowd, once their crowd got into it, they had their confidence going.”
Favors put Utah up by one late in the fourth quarter, only for Golden State to hit back immediately through Curry and Green.
Monday’s game marked the start of a demanding seven-game road trip for the Warriors, with tough assignments in Charlotte, Toronto and Indiana.
– Gasol leads –
Elsewhere on Monday, Spanish star Pau Gasol inspired the Chicago Bulls with 18 points in a 92-89 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bulls victory snapped a five-game winning streak for San Antonio, who lost for just the second time in 11 games. The Spurs are 14-4 for the season, second only to the all-conquering Warriors in the Western Conference.
Gasol was one of five Chicago players to finish in double figures as the Bulls survived late pressure from San Antonio to hang on for the win.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard missed a three-pointer with four seconds left. That would have put his team back in front, while a late three-point attempt from Tony Parker was blocked by the Bulls Derrick Rose to end the game.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg paid tribute to his team’s defensive effort.
“To hold that team to 16 fourth-quarter points was a great effort,” Hoiberg said. “They’re obviously a great team with great firepower … It was one of those nights where everyone who stepped on the floor contributed in a big way.”
In Michigan, James Harden piled on 29 points and nine rebounds for the Houston Rockets but it was not enough to stop the Detroit Pistons from claiming a 116-105 victory.
Reggie Jackson finished with 31 points for Detroit as the Pistons surged to a 28-point first-half lead which provided the basis of victory.
The Denver Nuggets meanwhile slumped to their seventh straight defeat in a 92-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin.
Greg Monroe led the way for the Bucks with 18 points while Jabari Parker and Michael Carter-Williams chipped in with 16 points and 12 points, respectively.