It will be a little bit easier because Draymond Green won’t be suiting up in this one because of covid protocols.
Draymond Green isn’t expected to return for the Warriors tomorrow in Utah against the Jazz, but Steve Kerr said there’s hope of possible return when Warriors get back home. Still hasn’t cleared protocols.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 31, 2021
Utah rested Mike Conley last night against the Wolves to be ready for this one. Because the Jazz have been mostly unscathed by injury and covid protocols they’ll go into this one at basically full strength. It is the second game after a back-to-back, but with it being a home game, they should be up for it.
The Warriors will be getting Jordan Poole back and he’s been a big part of their success this season.
Jordan Poole on his long quarantine in Boston and his conditioning level before his return tomorrow in Utah pic.twitter.com/OjcikhS4If— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 31, 2021
It’s nice for the Warriors that they’ll be getting Poole back but the big question is what will the Jazz do to slow down Steph Curry?
For the season, Curry is having his worst 3-point shooting performance for his career and the Warriors have been winning more this season. It’s scary to think that he will likely take a leap at some point with his shooting. So this year it’s not just Curry the Jazz have to worry about but also a much more well-rounded cast around him.
Andrew Wiggins is looking more like the player people predicted out of the draft. For the season he’s shooting 48% from the field and 42% from three. Fantastic numbers. Jordan Poole has become a sparkplug for them on offense. On the bench, they have an array of high-level role players in Otto Porter Jr., Damion Lee, and Andre Iguodala. They also get nice defensive performances from Gary Payton II. It’s a team that can win in a variety of ways. Oh, and they have three really promising young prospects in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody.
And Klay Thompson is coming back soon.
Can the Jazz slow them down this game? Or this season? Tonight will be a good test to see. Not having to face Draymond Green is a bummer because it would be nice to see how the Jazz hold up. In some ways, it will likely open things up for the offense for the Warriors, at least with space, as Green’s 3-point shooting still isn’t very good. But the Warriors will still miss his playmaking and rebounding. For the year, Green is averaging a well-rounded 8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.5 assists that the Warriors will have to replace somehow.
For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell has been electric in December and doesn’t look to be slowing down at all.
Mitchell has solidified himself as one of the elite guards in the league and has improved in every aspect of his game. If he can continue this level of play the sky is the limit for this Jazz offense that is already blowing the doors off the competition.
The defense will be the question for this Jazz team. Rudy Gobert has been dominant again this season but the perimeter defense appears even worse than last year and Utah has to figure out how to improve if they want to take things to the next level. Tonight will be a good test for the Jazz to figure out ways that can get better.
When: Jan. 1, 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: NBATV, ATTSN-RM, NBCSBA