Via Salt Lake Tribune Jazz reporter Bill Oram, Earl Watson said this about tonight's game:
Earl Watson told me before the game that this was "the big one" when looking at Jazz's remaining schedule. Hard to argue.— Bill Oram (@tribjazz) April 8, 2013
The Jazz answered the call. In the biggest game of the season, Jazz players up and down the roster stepped up. Responding to a 9 point deficit in the second quarter, recalling a road script Jazz fans have seen numerous time, the Jazz went on a 27-7(!!) run to take the lead going into halftime. Throughout the game, the Warriors faught back, using their incredible array of offensive talent, but the Jazz answered with large buckets every time, preventing the Warriors from ever again taking the lead in the second half.
It was completely unexpected from a team that hasn't won a road game against a team that was above .500 at the time the game was played all season.
Mo Williams somehow outplayed Steph Curry, who had 17 by the middle of the second quarter before cooling off in the second half of the game. Mo finished with 25 points on 8-17 shooting, with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Curry also garnered 4 rebounds and 5 assists, but finished with 22 points, going 8-19 in a ridiculous 45 minutes, a full quarter more than Mo Williams. Mo also hit the dagger 3, extending the Jazz lead to 6 with just seconds left in the game.
Derrick Favors had a very impactful performance in every facet of the game, scoring 12 points on 5-9 shooting, gathering 16 rebounds (6 of them offensive), and getting three blocks, including 1 on the Warriors final meaningful possession to get the ball back to the Jazz. Props to Jazz coach Ty Corbin for getting Favors back in on D on that play.
Coach Corbin went to DeMarre Carroll instead of Marvin Williams in the second half, and was rewarded by some game-changing hustle plays, including one where he stooped a Warrior fast break before dishing an interior pass to Jefferson for a three point play. While he scored no points, Carroll was huge.
The whole team continued their impressive ball-sharing by getting 29 assists in the game. Again, the Jazz showed a willingness to make the extra pass, as evidenced by the high assist totals by Millsap (4 assists), Jefferson (5 assists), and (Gordon Hayward (6 assists).
The Jazz only shot 7 free throws tonight, making 6 of them. This is the 3rd lowest total ever for the Jazz in Basketball Reference's database. Given this low number of free throws, it's completely remarkable that the Jazz got to 97 points.
As a result of the today's win, as well as the Lakers' loss against the Clippers, the Jazz now control their own destiny to make the playoffs. Any combination of 4 Jazz wins or Lakers losses would guarantee a Jazz playoff berth, their 26th in the last 30 years. We're such lucky fans.