The Utah Jazz entered this game really needing to win in order to feel good about their hold on the number one seed, and they couldn’t pull it off. The Golden State Warriors, who have been playing very well as of late, are desperate to hold onto the eight seed so that they only have to win one play-in game to secure their spot in the playoffs this year. They sure played not just like a desperate team but a team that nobody wants to see in the postseason this year. Anything is possible when you have Stephen Curry on your team.
The Warriors came into this game having won 4 of their last 5. Team leader Steph Curry has turned it up a notch even from his usual greatness and is averaging 39.4 points per game over his last 5 games. Ho hum, he just scored 36 points tonight on 11-25 shooting but surprisingly only 3-13 from three point land, that makes the go ahead shot even more painful for the Jazz and their fans. Of course it was Steph who not only hit the go ahead three but also scored the last five points to ice the game. Jordan Poole added 20 points to lead the bench unit for the Warriors and the steadying game of Draymond Green chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Jazz win streak is over at 5 games but not all is lost. The team wasn’t terrible overall tonight but they just couldn’t match the Warriors shooting. The score was pretty much even until the middle of the third quarter when the Jazz offensive firepower sputtered and the Warriors went on a run that saw their lead grow to 18 points with less than 8 minutes to play. It’s always nice to see the Jazz fight until the very end and make it a game but the mistake of giving up an offensive rebound in the last 20 seconds lead to a Steph Curry three and the Jazz had lost the lead for good. Bojan Bogdanovic had another great game, going 4-9 from three and finishing with 27 points and 6 rebounds. But the MVP of this game for the Jazz, (albeit an inefficient MVP), was Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson was the reason the Jazz came back and even had a chance to win this game at the end and his 24 fourth quarter points were like an exclamation mark on his 6th man of the year resume. I know, stats mean nothing if the Jazz don’t win and there were some mistakes made at the end of the game but it’s encouraging for Jazz fans as we go into the playoffs if Bogey and Clarkson are playing at their best. We shall see in about two weeks when the extra bright lights turn on, but I like the way that those two players are trending.
The Jazz still have work to do and let’s hope they can take care of business in the next few games. The team still controls it’s own destiny and now all they have to do is win their final three games and they will open up the playoffs with their first number one seed in 23 years. Let’s make it happen! Go Jazz!