Somehow the Utah Jazz (50-31) defeated the Golden State Warriors (66-15) last night, by the score of 105-99. This broke the Warriors 14 game win streak, and was their 5th loss at home all season. Utah drops 5-0 wins on a season for the first time in a very long time.
The first quarter saw Golden State’s line-up of Stephen Curry, Patrick McCaw, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia tip-off against Utah’s group of George Hill, Dante Exum, Joe Ingles, Boris Diaw, and Rudy Gobert. And it was either a lack of attention by the dubs, or a very specific point by the Jazz team, but Utah jumped all over them. They were making smart cuts and great passes to easy buckets - and I guess this is just Golden State sleepwalking? Golden State has a great offense and with the smallest of spaces they are able to take and make endless jumpers from all over. But it seems like they didn’t care on defense.
Draymond was challenging shooters outside, but Utah was staving them off for 11+ minutes and were ahead. They were focused. They came in trying to play up to the competition. The Warriors didn’t get a bench boost because of who they were sitting in this game, so instead you had JaVale McGee goaltending like three or four shots in the first quarter. Shelvin Mack was taking Steph off the dribble. Utah was playing hard. Golden State probably just rolled out of bed expecting to win this one.
The Dubs were up by one after one. But Utah’s three point barrage continued in the second. And the Jazz were able to get the Warriors to turn the ball a little. In the middle of the quarter the Jazz went on a 13-0 run. Joel Bolomboy was active and engaged on defense, making life hard for David West, and his tenacity on the glass led to some easy 2nd chance points. But the Warriors were able to whittle a 10 point deficit all the way down because of their offensive excellence. A Curry three put the Warriors up by 2 with about 95 seconds left in the half. (He’d get away with a walk that became an assist a few plays later.) (Dray would get away with a flagrant foul as well.)
Utah would be down just those two points after 24 minutes. You could tell that this Jazz team did miss Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood at times, even if they were making almost every three possible. The Warriors were also missing rotation guys, so I’m not going to complain too much. But the big difference was that Utah was fighting to win this game. I feel like Golden State was just messing around expecting a win would come.
In the third things were kind of sloppy. And who thrives in those times? Joe Ingles. Ingles was able to score on two straight drives, and Dray got a T. Hill’s FT tied it up. Utah would take the lead on a Mack three, created by Dante Exum’s drive and dish. That was with 6 minutes to go in the third. Utah was in this, even if Golden State completely took away the pick and roll for Gobert. And then this happened:
As soon as Rudy took a breather the Warriors did go right at the rim. However, it was all tied up 74-74 after 36 minutes. Big ups to Shelvin Mack and Joel Bolomboy for keeping things decent with Rudy and Hill out.
Kevin Durant is a load to defend. Stephen Curry is as well. But on the flip-side, the Warriors were having fits having to deal with Hill, Joe Ingles, and Joe Johnson. Joe scored 5 straight points and put Utah up again with 9 minutes to go. It’s great that Steve Kerr decided that this game wasn’t worth it. With Utah up and there being 7:41 left in this game he pulled his starters.
Utah got to go at it against Golden State’s bench: Shaun Livingston, Ian Clark, Patrick McCaw, Andre Iguodala, and David West. It’s not like Utah was loaded, Rudy Gobert was the only starter in there to finish this game off. A game the Jazz won. If we saw more of Steph, KD, and Dray in crunch time is this a different outcome? Probably. (Zaza did return with 3 mins left.)
After a time-out Kerr went with Ian Clark, McCaw, and three centers. He was trying to get data, not get this win. Utah needed this win. Utah got it. I’m not complaining.
Great shooting game for Hill, who also did his best on defense as well. Joe Johnson scored 13 of his 19 in the fourth.
Ingles messed around and nearly got a triple couple (11 / 7 / 4). Dante and Shelvin went 2/12 from downtown but were effective elsewhere in this game. Man, Alec Burks even made one of his layups.
But anything is possible, I have to say that after the Jazz beat GSW at home breaking their 14 game win streak without Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Raul Neto.