NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 55:
Golden State Warriors (30-22) at Utah Jazz (30-24)
Winner takes 6th right now, right? This is a big game.
I'm not a huge fan of the Warriors franchise. In my second season as a Jazz fan the Warriors beat our Jazz in the playoffs and I've never really gotten over it. They totally tanked last year when we could have gotten a very solid player to watch Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson play behind. But it wasn't to be. This season they are *healthy* and winning games. They won 4 in a row, but then something happened, and lost the last 5 straight to slide into the All-Star Break. This is their first game out after that, and they've had a long time to think about getting back to their winning ways.
Golden State is doing things this season, like not tanking, that they didn't do last season. The biggest thing is that they're playing defense. We know this first hand as they beat us 94-83 IN UTAH earlier this season on December 26th. And yes, they held us to 83 points. That's deplorable. After tonight we play them once more, but in their gym. These games are important because we're going for the playoffs, and we need to start getting some wins against good teams in the same conference not named the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder. We can't survive by beating up on the Los Angeles Lakers and other lotto teams anymore. So tonight is for a lot of mid-season marbles.
We win, we get back on track, and start the post-all star break on the right foot. They win, they win the season series, and break their losing streak -- and go up 2 games on us.
They're healthier than we are, missing only Brandon Rush. But it's only Brandon Rush, they have a glut of guards ahead of him on the depth chart that we are more worried about like Stephen Curry (21.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.1 threes MADE a game), Klay Thompson (16.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.6 threes MADE a game), and Jarrett Jack (13.0 ppg, 5.8 apg). Those three guys are shooting 44.7%, 38.9%, and 41.2% from deep respectively; so I'm not going to cry about them missing Brandon Rush. By comparison we're missing Mo Williams (12.9 ppg, 6.7 apg, 37.6 3pt%) and Gordon Hayward (13.5 ppg, a ton of every other stat, and shooting 39.2 3pt%). Those two Jazz players comprise 2/3rds of our best outside shooters -- and we're going to have to rely on Randy Foye to do everything again because the rest of our crew beyond those three aren't really helping.
They're a solid team, deep, and average on defense. They're about as good as we are on offense. The main difference is that we're bottom third in the league on defense. Middle third is better than bottom third. And I think we saw that in our first game this season.
Hopefully our bigs play big and carry the day. This is a pretty important "must win" as far as regular season games go; we need to come out and play our game, control the boards, control the pace, and remember that a loss here means GSW owns the tiebreaker against us if we happen to finish the season tied.
Tonight would be a great time for Paul Millsap to destroy his kryptonite David Lee though. We really can't have Sap play poorly tonight. This could be his last home game as a Jazz player.