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Golden State Warriors vs. Utah Jazz Game Preview -- Trap game?

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Game #27: Jazz (12-14) @ Warriors (26-1)
Location: Oracle Arena • Oakland, CA
Time: 8:30 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Murphy Omega needs to get back in the gym
Murphy Omega needs to get back in the gym
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Tonight the Utah Jazz look to play spoiler against the mighty Golden State Warriors. The Dubs are clearly looking at the schedule and more interested in their NEXT game, a Christmas Day rematch of their NBA Finals opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. They've already dispatched the Jazz earlier in the season and had a laugh about it too. This time they are at home, and the Jazz are down two starters. So this one should be that much easier, right? Well, that's why the smart fans at Golden State Of Mind are even worried that this could qualify as a trap game. There's a possibility that the Jazz are tougher than expected. But I really don't think the Warriors are going to come out and under-estimate the team that almost beat them a few weeks ago. That's not to say that guys like Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, or Stephen Curry have to respect the Jazz. It just means that they don't has to disrespect them by thinking they don't have to even try in order to get the win.

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Quick and Dirty:

Records: Jazz 12-14, Warriors 26-1

PPG: 97.5 (24th) for the Jazz,116.0 (1st) for the Warriors

ORTG: 105.7 (8th) for the Jazz, 115.0 (1st) for the Warriors

Opp.PPG: 97.0 (5th) for the Jazz, 102.6 (19th) for the Warriors

DRTG: 105.2 (17th) for the Jazz, 101.7 (7th) for the Warriors

Pace: 91.5 (30th) for the Jazz, 99.7 (1st) for the Warriors

Attendance: 15th for the Jazz, 19th for the Warriors

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Trends:

The Warriors remain a juggernaut. Just don't get in their way. They are #1 in their division, conference, and the league. They have won two in a row, but that's still 9-1 in their last 10 games. And really, 26 of their last 27 games. The Jazz have also won two games in a row, but are 4-6 in their last 10. They are the 8th in the West, and as fate would have it, would lead them into a playoff match-up against the Champs in the first round. Fun stuff.

Utah is playing, once again, without two starters: Rudy Gobert (center), and Dante Exum (point guard). Both players were instrumental for the team's great defense last season. Bereft of their services the Jazz are becoming a more offensive team, but one that hemorrhages points.

Golden State will be without one starter, Harrison Barnes, but the good news is that Andrew Bogut is back. So on that equation they are healthier, though they've been without rookie Kevon Looney all season long.

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Game Plan:

The Jazz need to slow things down, try to play defense, and limit the transition baskets Golden State gets. This worked for most of the game back in November. It'll be harder to do without Gobert shutting down the paint and getting rebounds. Draymond Green almost had his third triple double in a row in that game, and his style of play needs to be met. You just can't have him destroy your team like he's a husky Magic Johnson. Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles will have to do more than just dance on the sidelines tonight.

The Warriors will Warrior. We've seen them enough over the last two seasons to see the beauty of their game, and how quickly any lead can dissolve. If you let them play their game on their home court you're not going to have a good time.

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Marquee Match-up:

Festus Ezeli vs. Jeff Withey. Because screw it, that's what I'm going to watch tonight.

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Remember when . . .

. . . Karl Malone got fouled by Donyell Marshall, and Karl scored, and Donyell had to miss the rest of the season because he got injured and broke bones?

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GO JAZZ GO!