NBA Preseason: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images

NBA Preseason 2012-2013, Game 1

Utah Jazz (0-0) @ Golden State Warriors (1-0)

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The Basics:

This is the first game of the year for us, even if it is a preseason game it's something for us basketball starved Jazz fans to salivate over. Still, it's ONLY just a preseason game. What starters we see may not be the starters we use during our playoff push. What plays we run in crunch time may not be the plays we run during our playoff push. The turnovers we make, and the turnovers we may cause, will not be the types of defensive or offensive expectations we should carry forward. Guys who will not make the team will play tonight. And it's going to be sloppy.

And thankfully the game is not going to be on TV "here" (here being Utah). It will be streamed on the radio for those of you who are not local. (1280 I presume) The Jazz reloaded from their first trip to the playoffs post- Deron Williams. And with a lot of turn over, and hopefully better health, the Warriors hit refresh. (F5 for you nerds) Tonight we'll see which team gets it done, in the most meaningless game this season!

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History:

Last season the Jazz and the Warriors played four times, and the Jazz won three of them. That looks good on paper, however, we're the internet. We go deeper than paper. Here's a quick and dirty breakdown from last seasons' games:

  • Game 1: Jazz win 88-87 - Monta Ellis misses a buzzer beater / game winner after he got super hot and torched us again. This game was super tight and the Jazz struggled to steal one in their gym. The pace was only 84.8 - which we presume favors the Jazz.
  • Game 2: Warriors win 119-101 - the Jazz got trounced here, and somehow the pace was only 89.7.
  • Game 3: Jazz win 99-92 in overtime - Utah played without Al Jefferson, and down the stretch Devin Harris and Derrick Favors made big plays (like that one pick and roll finish / and one) and pulled out the win. You could make strong arguments that the Warriors did not play to win this game, and sat Klay Thompson when he could have still made a difference.The pace was 90.2.
  • Game 4: Jazz win 108-98 - Big Al has the best game of this four game series, and the Jazz carry the day against the clearly tanking warriors. The place was a slower 89.1 possessions.

Each team got blown out once, and there were two very close games. One team tanked while the other had a great run to finish the season. Over all, though, the cumulative pace was 88.5 (slower, which favors our team), but both teams ended up scoring 396 points. So both teams averaged 99.0 ppg last season series. Despite the 3-1 W/L record, the actual numbers show that the GSW team is a team that's "right there" with us. If you factor in the tanking they did -- they may actually be much stronger than the 'on paper' evidence suggests.

Monta Ellis is gone though, so I'm happy for that. He always used to kill us.

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The Game:

This really is a new look Warriors team going up against a slightly remixed Jazz squad. We added more three point shooters in Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Marvin Williams; while drafting Kevin Murphy. They are much more beefy inside with Andrew Bogut (who did not play against us after being traded for Monta), and added Carl Landry this off season.Of course, the key new piece to the Warriors is rookie Harrison Barnes, the former Tar Heel forward. Of course, it is Gordon Hayward's third year in the league -- if they match up, then Hayward better hold his own.

Both teams are not going to get a good feel for one another tonight, it's the first preseason game. Expect things to be . . . well . . .sloppy tonight. The Jazz will play inside out, and I hope the Warriors do as well. It will be mostly strength vs. strength there, and I believe in our guys in the paint. If it becomes an outside shooting contest I think you have to give it to the Warriors and their group of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, and crew.

I think the Jazz will attempt to be more than just an inside team this year, and health permitting, the Warriors will do more post up stuff as well. Both teams are not the same team from last year. As a result, expecting things to remain static (including the scoreboard) will be folly.

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Word from the Badguys:

[Ed. Note: I spaced on this, but will add something if they reply back -- I totally tweeted them about this though!]

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X-Factors:

The X-Factor for this game is clearly going to be time. Specifically playing time. It's the first game of the preseason, there are a lot of games ahead. We already know who Al Jefferson kinda is, we don't know who he is when surrounded with talent. He will need to play big minutes in the season, and he's the one 'given' on the team right now. He's the frame of reference all the other players and potential player combinations will revolve around. If he plays 30 plus then we may have a very predictable offense that has gotten results before. If we're shuttling players in and out we may not get that cohesion on the court.

Similarly, Golden State will be nursing back a number of "injured" dudes from last season. I don't expect the stars to play a lot of minutes. Meaning that this game will more than likely hinge upon the production of the Carl Landry / Alec Burks types out there.

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As an aside:

I've always wondered if Andris Biedrins and Andrei Kirilenko used to talk to each other out there on the court. They seem so 'quiet' during normal play, but the two former Soviets may actually have a bit more back and forth chatter when they faced each other. I'll never know the answer to this though . . . man, I miss AK.

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Fearless Prediction:

I think the Jazz lose this one, mainly because a) their guards and wings will have the green light, and b) Mark Jackson will wait until the season actually starts before tanking this year.

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