Sluggish Warriors 'playing it safe' with Jack
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UPDATE (3 p.m.) -- Jarrett Jack has been ruled out of tonight's game and will miss his fourth consecutive contest, according to a San Jose Mercury News report.


OAKLAND -- The Warriors were roughed up on their most recent road trip, going winless in four games with an average margin of defeat over 20. Point guard Jarrett Jack, who injured his hip and shoulder in the first game of the road trip, was conspicuously absent for the losing trip as well as the team's shootaround Tuesday morning in Oakland.

"He's doing ... okay," head coach Mark Jackson said. "Still no answer yet (on whether he'll suit up against the Rockets). We're going to play it smart. See how he feels later and then we'll see.

"I think the great thing is that we have a break after tonight, so we're going to be smart."

By calling out the seven-day break before the Warriors' next contest Tuesday against Utah, Jackson seemed to set the stage to sit Jack for the team's final game of the unofficial first half.

If he doesn't play, the Warriors will look to third- and fourth-string ball handlers Charles Jenkins and Kent Bazemore to cover the 12.8 points and 5.8 assists Jack averages off the bench.

"He's playing out of his mind this year," point guard Stephen Curry said of his backcourt peer. "Looking forward to him coming back, but we have to play better without him."

For the first time this season, Golden State is riding a four-game losing streak, one that ushered its road record below .500. What happened?

"We've gone through a tough stretch," Jackson acknowledged, "but it's important for us to finish the first half of the season the right way."

The head coach cited the team's departure from the stout defense and rebounding that was characteristic of its strong start. Curry dug a little deeper.

"We have to contain the basketball, keep guys out of the paint and defend the three-point line," The fourth-year veteran said. "The whole trip I think we struggled in those areas."

While Jackson isn't using fatigue as an excuse, Curry said the All-Star break is coming at the right time.

"Hopefully we get a jolt of energy from the home crowd," Curry said, "and get back on the winning side of things."

Certainly, Jack's return would provide that jolt, but it might be up to the fans that fill Oracle Tuesday night.

"This is a do-or-die game for us," said Curry. "We have to show up tonight. It's a must win."