Fontecchio lifts Jazz past Warriors in short-handed matchup
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Simone Fontecchio dunked with 1.4 seconds remaining off Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s steal and the Utah Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors 124-123 on Wednesday night in a matchup of short-handed teams.
“I couldn’t imagine anything like that. Just an amazing feeling, really happy and excited the way we got there,” said Fontecchio, who may have only been on the court because Collin Sexton left the game with a sore hamstring.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins sat out for Golden State, while Utah was missing Lauri Markkanen and Mike Conley. Curry skipped the game because of soreness in his left ankle, Green has tightness in his left hip and Andrew Wiggins has a strained right adductor. For Utah, Markkanen was ill and Conley has an injured left knee.
Fontecchio finished with a career-high 18 points. A rookie from Italy who will be 27 on Friday, he made four 3-pointers. Jordan Clarkson led Utah with 22 points.
Jordan Poole tied a season high with 36 points for Golden State and Jonathan Kuminga had a season-high 24.
“We were supposed to win that game. Just things that happen,” Kuminga said. “The NBA is crazy because out of 82 games, there’s always going to be a game just like that that you’re just going to ask yourself, ‘What happened?’”
Poole made a free throw with 13.3 seconds left to put the Warriors up 113-109.
But Malik Beasley, who had 18 points for Utah, made a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds to play. Alexander-Walker then slapped the ball away from Poole, Beasley picked up the loose ball and threw it ahead to Fontecchio sprinting to the basket.
With Golden State leading 121-119, Kuminga blocked Clarkson’s jumper in the lane with 24.9 seconds remaining and then tangled with the Utah guard in the resulting scrum. The players went after each other, but were quickly separated by officials and teammates.
Clarkson was whistled for a loose ball foul before an official review determined he committed a Flagrant 2 foul.
Clarkson ripped off his headband in disgust and exited the court.
“I didn’t do anything. I literally just held him up,” he said.
Kuminga and Beasley were assessed technical fouls and Kuminga made one of two from the line.
“You got to close it. You got to be rock solid with the ball. You got to be smart defensively. We were neither of those things the last 13 seconds,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
Klay Thompson had 22 points for the Warriors.
Walker Kessler, another first-year player, got his first career start with the Jazz and had 10 points, 12 rebounds and a career-best five blocks.
WEIRDER THE BETTER
The Jazz have thrived on chaos all season but they’ve failed to execute last-minute plays in two of their recent losses. This time around they brought the madness to the finish.
“I continue to be amazed by our team’s resilience. They never flinch in weird moments of the game or odd lineups,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “We are imperfect, but we’ve got heart. The end of the game reflected that.”
Warriors: Poole made his first 11 free throws before splitting his final two attempts. … Golden State scored 20 points off 17 Utah turnovers. … Thompson went 8 for 25.
Jazz: Rudy Gay returned after missing 11 games with a sprained left hand. … Clarkson had nine assists. … The Jazz shot 53.5% from the field.
Warriors: Host Boston on Saturday night.
Jazz: Host former Utah center Rudy Gobert and Minnesota on Friday night.
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