Tonight was a crazy night, filled with emotions, fouls, lead changes, and sadly as a Utah Jazz fan, frustration. The Jazz were a little short, playing without starting big Derrick Favors, and also without Marvin Williams and John Lucas III. Of course, the Golden State Warriors played without David Lee and Jermaine O'Neal. Both teams were playing without key players, and the Warriors played last night.
The Jazz climbed back into it in the first quarter after withstanding the initial Stephen Curry onslaught. He was on fight all night long, but the Jazz were getting contributions all over. Jeremy Evans, Enes Kanter, and Rudy Gobert were battling hard against Andrew Bogut -- who had an amazing game. And Jazz bench-court mates of Alec Burks and Diante Garrett kept the Jazz a few points ahead of Golden State at halftime.
The seven point halftime lead led up to the Jerry Sloan #1223 number ceremony. I wasn't able to watch it because I had the ESPN feed. I'm not going to write much about it right now, but it was a very touching ceremony where countless Jazz family members were present. Jerry is a class act and deserves all of the recognition that he can stand to accept.
Emboldened by Sloan, the Jazz took a five point lead into the fourth quarter -- Curry was amazing, Klay Thompson was horrible, and Andre Bogut was a wrecking ball. Trey Burke had to sit the majority of the game due to foul trouble, so we expected him to be off his leash in the fourth. It was going to be a close finish.
And it was . . . but sadly, Burks, Garrett, and Kanter couldn't do it all by themselves. The Warriors went on an 11-0 run in the middle of the fourth and Tyrone Corbin decided to call the time out AFTER Golden State had reclaimed the lead. Not taking a time out and letting the team play through it is great if you are a Championship contender filled with Vets, like what Jerry had. What YOU have, Tyrone, is a team playing rarely used bench guys against a playoff team, and you have a ton of injuries to key players.
Bad coaching, and bad execution ruined what could have been a magical night, and the Jazz were ultimately incapable of keeping up with the hot shooting of Steph Curry. The Jazz had the lead once under 2 minutes, but the final score of 95-90 tells it all.
- Trey Burke got eaten alive by Stephen Curry, it wasn't even close. Curry finished with 44 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds. Trey had 4 points, 6 points, and 3 rebounds.
- Andrew Bogut destroyed us, doing everything from scoring one on one to blocking important shot attempts in the fourth quarter. The Aussie finished with a jaw dropping 16 / 17 game, and added 5 assists and 3 blocks. Who needs David Lee?
- It's really sad to lose on a night you are trying to celebrate, losing to Golden State sucks more, because that's who Jerry's Jazz lost to in his first season in the NBA Playoffs in Utah.
- Enes Kanter is a real player in this league, and finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and probably should have seen the ball more down the stretch.
- The team made their free throws, they went 17/21 as a unit. That's good enough for 81.0 FT%, and had the Jazz shot their normal level, this game wouldn't have been as close.
- Garrett had an amazing game, and finished with 6/8 shooting, and made countless buzzer beaters. Burks finished with 26, and went 7/8 from the line. Both guys made all their three pointers. They almost outscored the starters by themselves.
The bad news is that it's a lost, I'd rather have another L in the W/L column for the Warriors though. What's worse is that Jeremy Evans is now hurt in two different places, he was having a very good game and was stretching the defense / spacing the floor with good spot up shooting from 15-18 feet. Gordon Hayward had a bad game for him, but was still able to do good things on the floor. Good and bad. That was tonight.
It was good to honor Jerry Sloan, and bad to lose to the Warriors. The Jazz play tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Woo!