For 24 minutes, it looked like the Utah Jazz could stick with the Golden State Warriors. Despite rough games from Rodney Hood and Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz went to halftime only down one point to the defending NBA Champs.
Thabo Sefolosha was responsible for a lot of Utah’s good fortune in the 1st half. While he didn’t score in bunches, he was playing great defense and creating for his teammates. Whenever Thabo is on the floor, good things happen. Unfortunately that didn’t hold in the second half.
Once the 3rd quarter began, the Warriors started cooking. The Utah Jazz fought back—fueled by a a couple layups by Rubio and a three—to get within one point halfway through the third, but then the Warriors just responded as only the Warriors could. By the time the dust settled, the Warriors had a 21 point lead. From that point on, they never looked back.
Kevin Durant absolutely took over in the third quarter. He led the Warriors to 42 poitns on 74% shooting in the third quarter. This Warriors team is just not even fair, and they didn’t even have Steph Curry.
For much of the game, the Jazz were relegated to isolation basketball. It’s hard to be disappointed by this loss to the Warriors. The Jazz were on the second half of a back to back against the defending champs without Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto. They are on the last couple games of a nightmarish December schedule, and it looks like they have just hit rock bottom with this stretch.
Donovan Mitchell has had two games in a row in which he has looked very much like a rookie. Part of that is teams are now making him priority number one on their defensive game plan. Teams are intentionally focusing in on him and hoping that no one else on Utah can step up. So far it’s working. Donovan Mitchell struggled from the field (though he had another dunk highlight). The good news is after Cleveland, the schedule eases up for Utah, and should allow Mitchell to flourish once again.
Rodney Hood also struggled in this game. While he had 26 points, he was 9-20. Most of his buckets—like Mitchell’s points—came during garbage time. The good news is Hood got to the line 4 times to have 8 free throws.
Kevin Durant, man. 21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks in 29 minutes. It’s just not fair how stacked this Warriors team is.
Patrick McCaw is going to get PAID this offseason. He had 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.
The Utah Jazz play the Cleveland Cavaliers in Utah next on Saturday, December 30th.