Steph Curry is phenomenal.
Despite not having Draymond Green, the Warriors found a way to stifle the Jazz’s offense for large parts of the game. And because the Jazz perimeter defense is so porous, that led to the Warriors pulling away multiple times during the game.
Utah really struggled to defend the Warriors in the first half and found themselves down by 14. They roared back in the third quarter to take the lead only to see the Warriors, behind Steph Curry take it and not look back late in the 4th. For the game, Curry shot 8/18 from the field (44.4%) and 6/12 from three. He also had 9 assists and 6 rebounds. He’s one of the greatest players to ever do it and he showed why tonight.
But it wasn’t just Curry who played well. Andrew Wiggins absolutely demolished the Jazz scoring 25 points on 9/19 (47.4%) shooting overall and 4/6 from three. He also had 4 assists and 2 steals. You go down the list and pretty much everyone on the Warriors shot it well. Gary Payton II shot 50% from the field as well as Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and Andre Iguodala. In fact, as a team, the Warriors shot 53% from the field and 53% from three. The fact the Jazz were close in this is a testament to their own offensive prowess.
Interestingly, the Jazz’s backcourt really struggled to shoot. Donovan Mitchell shot 4/19 from the field and Mike Conley shot 4/13. Mitchell had a fantastic 9 assists but the Jazz needed his shooting tonight and it just wasn’t there.
What will be hidden tonight is just how good Rudy Gobert was. In the loss, Rudy Gobert was a +10. For major stretches, he looked like the best player on the floor. And it’s likely not a crime to say he was. Gobert was 9/10 from the field with 10 points and 19 rebounds with 2 assists. Whether it was to experiment, or because Hassan Whiteside was out, Quin Snyder was mirroring a lot of Gobert’s time on the floor with Curry’s minutes. It obviously worked. The problem was that the second unit couldn’t get things. With Whiteside out, the Jazz had Rudy Gay playing the five. For the game, he was a -19. That is not a great sign for the playoffs that the Jazz perimeter defense can hold up with a 5-out lineup with the current roster construction.
Bojan Bogdanovic had another great shooting night. His scoring has become very dependable every night. Tonight he was 7/14 from the field and 4/10 from three. He also grabbed 6 rebounds and only had 2 turnovers. That type of production is perfect from Bogdanovic.
Jordan Clarkson also played well tonight. He’s driving at a high rate and tonight his three-ball was falling (4/7). He shot 8/14 from the field (57%) but did struggle tonight against a Warriors swarming defense. He had 0 assists for the game. It’s a surprising number when you consider that in his last 10 games he’s averaged 3.5 assists per game. It’s a good game for the Jazz to go back and check the film, especially Clarkson. It’s actually a good sign that he can improve on tonight because he’ll be able to see where he could have moved the ball better.
Probably the toughest night goes to Joe Ingles who was 1/7 from the field and 0/6 from three. Ingles had 2 assists, 2 points, 1 steal, and 4 fouls for the night. It’s getting hard to see him stay on the floor in crunch time. But that’s exactly what the Jazz did. Mike Conley came into the game with around 3 minutes left when the Jazz had given up a lead and were down 5. Why wasn’t Conley brought in sooner? Yes, he’s on rest, and sure, he wasn’t shooting it great, but Conley is a significantly better defender than Ingles at this point. It was a decision that had a lot to do with the outcome of the game. Yes, Curry was phenomenal, but having three minutes of Olé defense from Ingles was really rough.
All in all it was a fun game and it was nice to see the Jazz go on big runs against the Warriors. We’ll see how it goes the next time they match up with Draymond Green back, and possibly Klay Thompson, but this was fun despite the Jazz loss.