The Golden State Warriors have a chance to go 30-5 to start this season. Do they think that's a noble goal? Their PR department kind of does as they were recently quoting the Elias Sports Bureau and how the last few teams to start the season 30-5 went to the NBA Finals. It blows my mind that a team build like the Dubs are good. They are great this season, and in a class by themselves in the West, if not the world. But to put how good they are within context of their franchise -- this season could be the first time they've made the playoffs three years in a row since, well, the 1970-71, 71-72, 72-73 seasons. That's a long time to be one or two and done. And they weren't even getting one and dones, they have made the playoffs three times in the last 20 years (2006-06, 2012-13, and 2013-14). Even if they do make the playoffs this year and break that three years in a row drought they will still have only made the playoffs three times in two decades.
This is not a franchise that has anything but recent history on their side.
But man, what a recent history they have! Right now they are #1 in PPG, #4 in Off RTG, #1 in Pace, #11 in Opp. PPG, and #1 in Def RTG. Stephen Curry is having an MVP season as more than just the best player on the best team. Klay Thompson was just named Western Conference Player of the Week for the season time this season. Draymond Green is going to be making a lot of money next year with his amazing play. Their bench is talented, almost everyone can shoot, and somehow their defense is killing it -- even with an Andrew Bogut who has missed so many games this year.
I want to really hate on the Dubs, trust me, I do. But they are a very good team having a very special season. If anything, they are a good example of giving lotto picks lots of minutes from the get-go. It worked (yet again, funny how it seems to work for every team but the ones that don't try it). The Jazz can learn a lot from this game, and it's not just a game between two rookie coaches in Quin Snyder up against the super green Steve Kerr.
They play at a fast pace because they get defensive rebounds and turn overs. Their guards have the green light and take shots. Either they go in or not, but they take the best shot available. (There's a difference between jacking vs. creating open shots) They have superb defense without having to start a 6'10 and 7'2 guy in the paint and crossing their fingers when the other team takes an outside shot.
So in that regard, this is the game to watch, even if our team gets creamed.
The Jazz aren't going to roll over, though. I think they've shown a greater ability to hang with teams -- even if they got blasted by Houston. Utah has had two nights off, and are still dealing with some injuries. Alec Burks is still out, and joining him will be Rodney Hood. This means more minutes for Joe Ingles (if he plays), Elijah Millsap, Ian Clark, and Elliot Williams. Trevor Booker is doubtful, but Enes Kanter is back. Kanter will start, pushing Rudy Gobert to the bench. But in this game, it's going to be a game where the point guard will win it.
For Golden State they will be without Festus Ezeli, and Ognjen Kuzmic is on assignment with the NBA D-L. The big news is that Andrew Bogut is questionable, and may not be ready to go tonight. If that happens then you know the Warriors will go super small, which is totally deja vu for me, because the reason why I hate the Warriors so much is because Don Nelson knew he couldn't match-up against the Jazz' size in the playoffs back in 1989, and put out four guards and a small forward at times and swept Utah out of the first round.
Trey Burke vs. Stephen Curry -- Curry is playing his best of his career. Burke is playing at his best this season. Between them is a galaxy of on court performance and success. While our bigs will be big, and their bigs are all stretch-capable, the Jazz size advantage will be nullified tonight. The Jazz wing rotation isn't at full strength, so really it's going to be a Trey Burke game. If he can rekindle his Michigan magic the Jazz can hang with the Dubs for a while.
If he is in hero mode and missing, well, then that will suck for our team.
A loss we can be proud of.