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Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz Game Preview

Game 75: Warriors (67-7) @ Jazz (37-37)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM // 97.5 FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz will take on Goliath tonight, and by them I mean the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs haven't lost to the Jazz once this season in three tries, and are building off their recent momentum in the head to head series. They went 3-1 last season, and are slowly crawling back to respectability though Utah still leads 103-70. And really, the Jazz -- at home -- should have some pride tonight. They are 65-21 at home against the Dubs and are playing respectable basketball. Yes, Golden State is 9-1 and are decimating every team they play. But Utah is 8-2 in the last 10 games and along with the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, are tied for the second hottest team in the West right now. I should hope to see Utah make a game of it.

Even without Dante Exum (still out for the season), Alec Burks (somehow still out), and Tibor Pleiss (why do I keep listing him?), I think the Jazz should play hard and possibly die hard against the Dubs. Golden State will be without Andre Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Kevon Looney, and possibly Brandon Rush. They still have more talent in the starting lineup and a better bench, but there are holes with which the Jazz can poke them from.

The key to this game, like every game against the Warriors since the 80s, is the control the tempo. It's fun to run up and down and take quick shots. It's HARD to be good at that for 48 minutes. Golden State can do that. Very few non-Paul Westhead teams can. Utah needs to put in work on the glass and try their best not to get suckered into turning the ball over. If they can do that then they can walk the ball around and limit the obvious offensive disparities between these two clubs.

If the Jazz have a chance to set up their defense then it makes it slightly harder on the Warriors. It doesn't make it hard, but just slightly harder. That's something.

As an old fool, I want our guys to win this one. However, I just don't know how it's going to happen. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are tough covers for a team that can manage to cover maybe half of one of that pair right now. Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Trevor Booker, and Trey Lyles are an interesting foursome in the paint, but today's game for bigs isn't limited to just that area. The Warriors have an advantage there, especially with how Draymond Green has been playing of late. Picking up Anderson Varejao to back up Andrew Bogut means they can go as big as we can, and not have to back down or adjust. Whatever miss-matches that will happen as a result will be those desired by the Warriors.

Gordon Hayward has been fantastic this season, and Rodney Hood is really hot right now -- but bench scoring is going to remain an issue for the team. Raul Neto can't score like Trey Burke, and Trey can't do the things Raul can. Both will get beaten tonight by Shaun Livingston. It could be a very bad time when the Jazz bench is in there because for his entire career Leandro Barbosa has torched our squad with his speed and shot making. Man, it would be cool if Alec Burks could come out to play.

I see the Warriors winning this one. But I'm not going to be upset about it for one second. Utah is supposed to lose this game, but still make the NBA Playoffs. It will be fine.

Of course, seeing these fans these last two nights in the Aunt Viv isn't that fun.

GO JAZZ GO!