Times are hard for Warriors fans, because this season has forced them to unpack their Lakers jerseys. Combine that with the Yankees losing in the ALCS last month, the Patriots being dealt a crushing defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, and the Alabama Crimson Tide being dispatched by the LSU Tigers, and it’s been a rough month for bandwagon fans everywhere.
The general consensus among NBA writers and fans was that the Warriors were not serious title contenders, but were a lock to make the playoffs as a 6-8 seed. I certainly thought this, as the Warriors still had Steph Curry, Draymond Green, D'Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney, and Willey Cauley-Stein. Oh, and former Jazzman Alec Burks, of course. That's a pretty decent core. Not a championship core, but definitely good.
Problem is, four of those guys are injured, and the Dubs look more like the Warriors who play in Santa Cruz than the guys in San Francisco. The Jazz should crush this team. Key word being "should."
When: Monday, November 11, 2019 • 8:30pm MT
Where: Chase Center • San Francisco, CA
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to Watch For
Defense on D'Angelo Russell
The Warriors' only man left who can reliably score is D'Angelo Russell. The Jazz need to lock him down and dare the other Warriors to shoot. D’Angelo Russell is averaging 25.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assist per game on an eFG% of 51.8%. He’s been amazing. He’s the Warriors main point of attack. He’s also motivated. He’s playing to get traded when the December trade date rolls around when contracts that were signed over the summer can be moved out.
While he is a fierce weapon and the Warriors are without Klay, Steph, and Draymond, he may not be the only point of attack.
A New Challenger Has Appeared
Eric Paschall—whom our editor was in love before the draft and Utah should have moved heaven and earth to get him—has been a revelation for the Warriors. He’s also Donovan Mitchell’s old teammate from his younger days before college. So far this season he is averaging 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists on 57.1% eFG% while going 31.6% from beyond the arc. He’s a rookie. He scored 34 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers just three games ago. Utah cannot underestimate this squad and part of the reason they can’t is because of Mitchell’s old teammate.
Patrolling the Paint
In the middle, the Warriors have Willie Cauley-Stein and that's it. Remember when the Utah Jazz were playing the Adelaide 36ers and every other play was a lob to Rudy? That's what could happen tonight. Also, if the Jazz can't rebound tonight, they legitimately have a problem. The biggest threats they have on the glass are Kevon Looney, Glenn Robinson, Cauley-Stein, and Eric Paschall. Paschall is the darkhorse who could flex up on the glass. He has played up to his competition. Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Joe Ingles are all rebounding well this season at the four spot (5.0+ rebounds PER36 for all three).
Tony Bradley should feast against Golden State’s second unit. There’s a real chance Tony Bradley could leave this game with a double double as he’s going to be guarded by 6’6 Eric Paschall or 6’8 Omari Spellman. If this game turns into a good old fashioned blowout, it’ll because Utah is dominating on the defensive glass and not allowing any of the Warriors’ smaller guys to give the Warriors any additional opportunities on the offensive glass.
Not to kick a man while he's down, but I love seeing Draymond getting crossed into next week.
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