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OAKLAND – New coach Steve Kerr and his staff are asking everybody on the Warriors to submerge their own desires for the sake of the team. Nobody has had to do more submerging than Andre Iguodala.
He's a lottery pick who has been an All-Star, won a gold medal with the United States Olympic team and entered this season having started all 758 games in which he had played.
Iguodala is now coming off the bench, and he has struggled with the role. His production has tumbled and his shooting has been errant.
Finally, on Friday night at Oracle Arena, there was compelling evidence of change. In a 101-88 thumping of the Utah Jazz, Iguodala scored a team-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including both 3-point attempts.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Warriors show no rust, beat Jazz 101-88]
"It was coming," Kerr said. "He's been shooting the ball well in practice and throughout training camp. More than anything, it was the adjustment to coming off the bench. It's a hard thing to do when you've started literally every game of your career. We knew it was coming."
It may have started coming last Sunday in Los Angeles, when Iguodala made 4-of-6, and 2-of-3 3-pointers, in a win over the Lakers. After making only 4 of his first 20 treys this season, he has now made four of his last five.
"I've just been in the gym a lot," said Iguodala said. "My guy and I have gotten in a good groove the last few nights. With off days, you still have to stay on top of your craft. I wasn't able to get as much work in the summer as I would have liked, so it was only a matter of time."
It was a welcome sight, for when Igoudala's shots are falling he often is the most effective player on the floor. When teams have to defend him, the floor opens up and he is superb at exploiting that space with slashing drives or clever passes.
Six Warriors scored in double figures, but it was the first time this season that Iguodala led the team in scoring.
"The sacrifice that he has made for this team establishes everything that we are about and that this team is buying into," Kerr said. "If we want to win at an elite level, it's about sacrifice. Andre is setting probably the biggest example of sacrifice by embracing his role."
It's a reluctant embrace, to be sure. Iguodala has an ego, as is expected of someone with his resume. But every aspect his game is directed toward the helping the team. On this night, he did it by making shots.
Marreese Speights continues to increase his grip on the backup center/power forward position. He submitted another double-digit game (his fifth) and another nice shooting night (6-of-9 from the floor).
Andrew Bogut scored 12 points in 20 minutes. Impressive again.
Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes were terrific on the glass. Green establishing himself early, with six of his nine rebounds in the first quarter. Barnes finished with a game-high 11.
The Warriors played stifling defense, particularly early, limiting Utah to 25 percent in the first quarter and 34.7 percent for the half.
The fourth quarter was garbage time at its finest, and the Warriors would like to shred it. They committed six turnovers, leading to 11 Jazz points. They shot 29.4 percent from the floor, while Utah shot 61.9 percent. In being outscored 31-16, the Warriors gave away half of what had been a 30-point lead.
The Warriors were clobbered on second-chance points, 14-4.
This was the third consecutive blowout for the Warriors and each one has brought a nice surprise. It was Speights' scoring (24 points) against the Lakers and Barnes' scoring (17 points) against the Hornets. But Iguodala is a different kind of difference-maker. When he's on, the Warriors are almost impossible to defend. And a lower-division team like the Jazz has no chance.