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The Downbeat #1930: The Golden State Warriors' Kryptonite

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Are the Utah Jazz poised to be the Golden State Warriors' kryptonite?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2016 NBA Finals we are seeing the Golden State Warriors absolutely put the beatdown on the Cleveland Cavaliers.  While the Cavaliers could very well win the next two games in Cleveland after such lopsided games a la the Toronto Raptors, it seems very unlikely.  The Golden State Warriors "small ball" renaissance is peak Nelly ball or 5 Seconds or Less basketball.  It's like the perfect storm.  Perfect point guard with perfect sidekick with perfect playmaking 4 and bench are combined to make the perfect 3 point shooting barrage.  Many teams will be eager to try to copy the formula.  They would be wrong to do so.

The Golden State Warriors faced their toughest matchup when they played the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Now why was that?  How does a team whose starting lineup boasts Steven Adams and Andre Roberson with Superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook put up such a fight?  When comparing the two rosters it would seem there is a big drop off after Ibaka to the next player on OKC's roster while after Draymond Green or Klay Thompson there's still the likes of Bogut, Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston, and others.  And you'd be correct.  So how did the Oklahoma City Thunder do it?

Length.

That opening lineup of Oklahoma City Thunder.  Here's the wingspans of that lineup:

Russell Westbrook

6'7

Andre Roberson

6'11

Kevin Durant

7'4

Serge Ibaka

7'3

Steven Adams

7'4

A lot of pundits said that the size of OKC's lineup hindered the Warriors.  They're half-right.  That is almost giving credit to the height of these players or size.  Like Shaq size.  But this is different.  The length of that lineup can close out on the Warriors faster.  The key to slowing down and beating the Warriors is not going pound for pound on scoring and offense.  It's fighting fire with ice.  Turn the game into a 90s battle between the Knicks and Pistons, a knockdown, dragged out fight where every point is painfully earned.  That's not to say make it dirty and physical.  It requires slowing down the pace and making it a defensive struggle.

The Utah Jazz are uniquely positioned to become Golden State's kryptonite.  Even while injured the Golden State Warriors did not want to see the Utah Jazz face them in the 1st round of the playoffs this year.  They knew facing Houston would allow them to play and easy as it goes track meet.  Against Utah they'd face a steep uphill battle.  Let's look at Utah's projected length next year and you'll see why the Utah Jazz are the next big thing when it comes to the NBA.

Dante Exum

6'9

Rodney Hood

6'8

Gordon Hayward

6'7

Derrick Favors

7'4

Rudy Gobert

7'8

And the Utah Jazz have the length right where they need it, at the perimeter and on Curry and Thompson.  No amount of switching allows the Golden State Warriors allows them to have a great matchup.  Every time a switch occurs they are left on either a determined and long perimeter defender or an athletic big man.  The Utah Jazz at the end of the 2015 season showed that when healthy they are not only a great defensive team, but a historically good defensive team.  If luck stays in their favor this offseason and they return a healthy group they will be a historic defensive force to be reckoned with.  That's saying a lot for a team that has a high draft pick and a lot of cap space.

Awesome news in the apparel front where you can show your Pride and show your pride for the Utah Jazz at the same time.  No matter your race, color, sexuality, sex, or belief we are all fans of a team that's best days were in the 90s.

NBA creates Pride Month T-shirt line with every team's logo in rainbows - Outsports

The NBA has unveiled a new line of apparel for Pride Month, the likes of which hasn't been done before in men's professional sports, to our knowledge. The League, in conjunction with Teespring, has created T-shirts of every one of the NBA's 30 teams that feature each team's logo in rainbows. The shirts will be available exclusively on Teespring, and proceeds from the sales of the shirts will benefit GLSEN, which has had a multiyear partnership with the NBA dating back to PSAs the league cut with GLSEN in 2011.

Utah Jazz Pride

"Professional sports showing up for LGBT people is one of the biggest cultural developments of the last decade, and really the last five years," GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard told Outsports. "The NBA has been showing up for LGBT youth and for GLSEN for a number of years. Having this be a league-wide initiative, knowing any LGBT fan in the country can choose to celebrate their team and themselves with one of those shirts, that's a whole new thing."

At Yahoo Sports, the White Mamba himself proclaimed Utah as a top free agent destination ... if you are Brian Scalabrine.  In all fairness I think Utah is very underrated.  Beautiful in the offseason, tons of national beauty, underrated hipster scene, and is growing like crazy.  It's also a great place to raise a family.  See more here:

Joe Ingles got himself into a twitter battle with a game named Bernie Vince.  Apparently Bernie Vince is a Melbourne rugby star who just lost the Democratic Presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton.

Joe then apologized.

Joe Ingles should never have apologized.  He's gone toe to toe with this man:

Lately at Draft Workouts in Utah there has been a mysterious curtain raised.  As pointed out by many different Jazz reporters:

Now back in 2015 when the Utah Jazz's defense was on fire many were calling it the Zion Curtain.  IS THIS THE REAL ZION CURTAIN????

And if it is not here is the full image.  Let's do a photoshop battle right here, right now.  What do you think is behind the Zion Curtain?