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Warriors at Jazz Game Preview: Two All-Stars against a team with a lot of heart

Golden State Warriors (36-7) @ Utah Jazz (13-30)
EnergySolutions Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
7:00 p.m. MT • TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 97.5 FM / 1280 AM

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz face the Golden State Warriors tonight in their last game in a pretty brutal January. This past month the team has faced the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors (x2), Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Effectively the Jazz went interstellar this month and saw a lot of stars up close. They will get to see two All-Stars tonight in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson tonight, again, for the second time this month, and third time so far this season. (These two teams will meet again in March)

Utah has no stars, but if we have seen anything from the last month is that they do have a lot of heart. Their defense has buckled down and given up 100+ points only twice in the last 10 games. The most was 116 to the Warriors, in Utah. And well, we could have that situation again tonight. Heart or no heart, the Dubs are hard to be when everyone on their squad is on fire from outside.

The Warriors have been off for a few nights, and are no doubt pumped up for the recent announcement of Klay as a reserve. Few things would make me happier than to see the Warriors get some dirt on their sparkling image right now. A tough game against the Jazz, one where we dirty them up a bit, could do it. After all, the Jazz are the average kid's camp, and the Dubs are the rich kids camp across the lake. We're a group of scrappy under dogs right now while they are a bunch of second generation NBA players. They have the pedigree. The prime time players. And the performance value to get them hyped up.

But the Jazz have heart ($0.10 donation to the Frank Layden pre-game speech foundation)

Rudy Gobert has been a defensive beast all month long, and while Gordon Hayward has demonstrated that he cannot do it all by himself we have seen great play at times from Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Dante Exum, and Trey Burke. On paper, sure, one team is vastly better -- especially with the injury situation. (No Alec Burks or Rodney Hood for the Jazz; Andrew Bogut will play tonight with the flu, and Festus Ezeli will go to the NBA DL for a while.) But there's no reason why our club can't complete tonight.

They did against the Clippers. And they are playing better defense. I know the losses get you down after a while, but I am more interested in seeing this team gel, play together, and play better. And they are doing that right now because they are playing with heart.

And if our heart isn't enough you know what I always say . . .

. . . take THEIR heart too!