The Golden State Warriors came limping into tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz being down all four of their All Stars. The Utah Jazz weren’t going to give them any sympathy. If there’s been a team that has been bitten by the injury bug the last 4 years it has been Utah. Utah took full advantage of the Warriors vacancies with a 110-91 blowout in Oakland. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 21 points on 8-19 shooting with 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
The game didn’t look like it would be a sure thing in the first quarter. Utah’s offense started to look like their offense in the game against Atlanta at one point shooting only 17% from the field. Javale McGee started to look like Wilt Chamberlain and Ricky Rubio had a rough start to the game. Luckily, Utah’s defense kept them in the game and they only were trailing the Warriors by 4 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Jazz turned it on. Led by Dante Exum and Jae Crowder, the Utah Jazz went on a run to swing the game in their favor. Utah outscored Golden State 35 to 25 in the second quarter and didn’t look back after that. Dante Exum finished with 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting and 5 assists in only 17 minutes of play. Jae Crowder finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 30 minutes of play.
A big reason for the Jazz’s success—other than playing the Santa Cruz Warriors—was their shooting from long range. Utah shot 42% from deep. Utah has been the worst three point shooting team in the Association since the All Star break and any improvement from there is going to be huge come playoff time.
Donovan Mitchell was spectacular as he pushed the Jazz’s lead into blowout territory in the 3rd quarter. Rudy Gobert’s defense continues to stifle the league. The Warriors finished the game shooting 41% from the field. Rudy Gobert finished the game with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 blocks. You know, Defensive Player of the Year type stuff.
Joe Ingles only shot 4 of 12 from the field, but was 4 of 7 from the field. He added 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals to his line. Joe Ingles is a jack of all trades. The crazy thing is I don’t remember all of these stats he accumulates during the game and seeing the box score after the game is like opening the cereal box and discovering a sweet prize. It’s spectacular.
Ricky Rubio had a rough game but still managed to make an impact in the +/-. Nights like tonight are where Utah is lucky to have two impact players at the point guard position. Rubio wasn’t feeling it and Exum was able to come in and provide big time minutes at the one. If Dante can continue his game by game improvement, Utah’s bench is going to get a much needed boost for the last stretch of the season and playoffs.
The Utah Jazz finish their road trip 2-1 and were a few good breaks away from a 3-0 trip with wins in Golden Staten AND San Antonio. Utah is now 42-32 with only 8 games remaining.
The Jazz will face off on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics. Though Gordon Hayward hasn’t returned from injury, the Utah Jazz will be looking to exact revenge against Boston. They will have the advantage of being rested as Boston will be playing their third game in four nights. The Celtics come into this game without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, and possibly Jaylen Brown who is in concussion protocol right now. This is still a Brad Stevens coached team, so nothing is guaranteed. Utah must take advantage to continue their march toward the playoffs and good seeding. The game is on Wednesday at 7:30 MT on ESPN.
David Stockton made his Utah Jazz debut tonight. He scored his first points as a Jazzman getting to the line and making both of his free throws. Feels good to have a Stockton. Good karma.
Quin Snyder continues to experiment with Dante Exum at three in stretches. He did so tonight with a lineup of Rubio, Mitchell, Exum, Crowder, and Gobert. The results have been mixed. If Exum is able to play the three it opens up fun possibilities. His speed becomes even more of a weapon for opposing threes when they are forced to guard him.
Derrick Favors continues his under the radar but doin’ work streak. Favors finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in only 24 minutes of play. Jae Crowder allowing Favors to get a good amount of rest before the playoffs is a thing we should be talking more about. A healthy Favors in the playoffs is an exciting thing to think about.
There was a rare Alec Burks sighting in garbage time tonight. It appears that Alec Burks has hit the end of the road in his redemption attempt this season. What could have been. What could have been.