Warriors outlast Utah Jazz in Thrilling Shootout, Win 124-123
After defeating the Oklahoma CIty Thunder on Opening Night, the Golden State Warriors (1-0) flew to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz (1-0). The Warriors lost both their games in Utah last season, and the Jazz got even better during this past offseason, so the Warriors were in for a dogfight if they wanted to win. The Utah Jazz figure to be one of the best teams in the NBA this season after exploding at the end of last season. In a battle of heavyweights in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors won 124-123.
Derrick Favors got the scoring started in the first quarter for the Jazz, but the Warriors were able to answer right back with plenty of scoring of their own. The two teams went back-and-forth for the first few minutes of the quarters, and these teams looked fully engaged and ready to go. Kevin Durant had six early points with two of them coming on a powerful slam, and Klay Thompson hit two mid range jumpers for the Warriors. Joe Ingles hit a wide open three for the Jazz and had five points at the time of the first timeout. Damian Jones got himself into some foul trouble, but that didn’t stop him from throwing down a powerful dunk and making some nice defensive plays. When timeout was called with 6:27 left in the quarter, the Warriors led 14-11. Kevon Looney threw down a dunk to start the scoring after the timeout, but the Jazz answered back with four quick points to make it a one-point game. Jae Crowder then hit a three for the Jazz which Jonas Jerebko responded to with a three of his own off of an incredible pass from Stephen Curry. Ricky Rubio then hit a mid range jumper to tie the game heading into the second timeout of the quarter. When timeout was called with 4:07 left in the quarter, the score was tied at 19. Stephen Curry hit a mid range jumper to get the scoring started out of the timeout, but Dante Exum threw down a tomahawk slam to tie the game again. Jonas Jerebko hit a three to give the Warriors a one-point lead after two free throws from Dante Exum. The two teams continued to go back-and-forth for the rest of the quarter. They were trading mid range jumpers, layups, and about 30 free throws. The Jazz got a break at the end of the quarter when Kevin Durant fouled Alec Burks on a buzzer-beater, and hie hit three free throws to give the Jazz a 34-32 lead. Kevin Durant was leading the way for the Warriors with 10 points, but Jonas Jerebko was close behind with six of his own. The Jazz were led by Jae Crowder with eight points. The Warriors committed 11 fouls in the quarter and the Jazz got to take 17 free throws, but the good news is that the Warriors only committed three turnovers in the quarter. If the opening period of this game was any indication of how the rest would play out, we were going to be in for a fun night.
Alec Burks added insult to injury by getting the scoring started with a tough layup in the second quarter to get the lead to four points for the Jazz. Draymond Green then went 1/2 from the free throw line which forced Quin Snyder to call a timeout (for an unknown reason) with 10:29 left in the quarter and Utah leading 36-33. Shaun Livingston scored in the post to get the Warriors going again, and that got the Warriors back into the flow of the back-and-forth affair. The two teams exchanged baskets for the next three minutes before the Warriors tied the game, then took the lead on two Klay Thompson free throws. Dante Exum then tied the game with a tough shot before fouling Klay Thompson to send him to the line again to make two more free throws. Rudy Gobert threw down a lob before Stephen Curry got and and-1 mid range jumper to fall. Dante Exum then hurt my feelings with a three in Steph’s face before Draymond got a layup to fall on the other end, but the Jazz took the lead on another three. Kevin Durant then hit a three to take the lead but Donovan Mitchell mimicked on the next possession, but Kevin Durant got an and-1 runner to fall to take the lead once more. The next several possessions were highlighted by threes from Joe Ingles, Alfonzo McKinnie, and free throws for Rudy Gobert. The Jazz looked like they had momentum on their side when Steve Kerr called timeout with the Jazz leading 59-56 with 4:29 left in the quarter. Stephen Curry got the Warriors going after the timeout with his first three of the night, but Jae Crowder hit a three to negate Curry’s. Kevin Durant then drained a mid range jumper, but Joe Ingles responded with a three and the Jazz had a five-point lead, which then became an eight-point lead on a Donovan Mitchell three. Draymond Green then threw down a fastbreak dunk to try and halt the Momentum of the Jazz, but that changed nothing because they sent Rudy Gobert to the line for free throws again before Ricky Rubio knocked down a three. Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell then exchanged baskets from bbeneath the hoop before KD hit a baseline fadeaway. Joe Ingles, who isn’t a fan of the Warriors having momentum, hit another three, but Kevin Durant threw down a dunk after he Ingles three. The Jazz were visibly exhausted, but don’t worry because Donovan Mitchell hit a three before the buzzer to add to their growing lead. This quarter was a disaster for the Warriors. At halftime, the Jazz led the Warriors 81-69.
The second quarter was a disaster for the Warriors. The Jazz headed into halftime with FIVE different players scoring more than 10 points. As a team, the Jazz shot 55.6% (25/45) from the floor and 45.8% (11/24) from three, while also going 20/23 from the free throw line. The Warriors shot 60% (27/45) from the floor and 45.5% (5/11) from three, but only shot 12 free throws. Kevin Durant had 24 points for the Warriors, but the next-highest scorer was Stephen Curry with just nine points. The Warriors were getting run off the floor by the end of the second quarter, and they let the Jazz get hot at the worst possible time (they started the game 1/11 from three and then hit 10 of their next 13). The Warriors needed to come out strong in the third quarter or this game would get ugly in a hurry.
Donovan Mitchell got a contested layup to fall to start the third quarter, but Damian Jones threw down an INCREDIBLE dunk off a lob from Stephen Curry to answer back. Joe Ingles hit another three, his fifth of the game, but Klay answered with a mid range jumper before Stephen Curry stole the ball for an easy layup and the lead was cut to 11-points. Kevin Durant then got a tough layup to fall after a eurostep to get to the hoop, and the lead was at nine. Donovan Mitchell threw down a dunk off of a steal before Stephen Curry hit his second three of the game, and the lead was down to eight. Ricky Rubio then hit a three and made me want to stop watching basketball forever, and the lead was back to 11. Klay Thompson hit a baseline jumper after several minutes of no scoring from either side. The Jazz then called timeout, and with 6:47 left in the quarter they led 91-82. Rudy Gobert went to the line after the timeout and made a free throw, and then Donovan Mitchell hit a corner three, and then Jae Crowder hit a wing three to give them a 16-point lead. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant got a quick four points for the Warriors, but Steve Kerr called timeout with 4:11 left in the quarter. When timeout was called the Utah Jazz led the Warriors 98-86. Stephen Curry got the scoring started after the break with a layup off a hesitation move, and Durant then added a turnaround jumper to cut the lead to eight again. Steph then hit a stepback midrange jumper with a bloody nose, but then Joe Ingles hit a circus shot to get lead to eight points again. Stephen Curry then connected on a push shot before knocking down his third three of the game for his 16th point of the quarter. Quin Snyder was forced to call timeout as the lead was cut to three points. With 40.3 left in the third quarter, the Jazz led 100-97. Joe Ingles hit a three at the buzzer because apparently he hasn’t missed a shot since last postseason. When the quarter ended the Jazz led the Warriors 103-97. KD had 30 points for the Warriors and Steph added 25 of his own. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 60.6% (40/66) from the floor and 46.7% (7/15) from three. The Jazz were led by Joe Ingles with 22 points, but Donovan Mitchell had 19 of his own. The Jazz were shooting a combined 50% (33/66) from the floor and 47.1% (16/34) from three.
Georges Niang hit a three to get the Jazz started in the fourth quarter, but Kevin Durant responded with a fadeaway over Joe Ingles. The Jazz then went on a quick run to get their lead back to 10 points. Kevin Durant made two free throws to get the lead back down to eight points, but Dante Exum did the same thing for the Jazz and the lead was 10 again. A lob to Shaun Livingston from Draymond Green preceded a hook shot from Draymond Green that cut the lead to six points. Draymond’s hook shot forced a timeout from Quin Snyder with 8:01 left in the quarter and the Jazz leading 111-105. Shaun Livingston drained two free throws to get things rolling after the stoppage. Stephen Curry then made his fourth three of the game to cut the lead to one point. KD then got a layup to fall for his 36th point and it gave the Warriors the lead. The Warriors then called timeout with 5:48 remaining in the quarter. At the time of the stoppage the Warriors led 112-111. Draymond Green got a shot to fall from under the rim to get the Warriors going again after the timeout, but Rudy Gobert through down a lob on the next possession to cut the lead to one point again. Joe Ingles then got a layup to fall and give the Jazz the lead, but KD went to the line and made two free throws to give the Warriors the lead again. Ricky Rubio drained a three just before the shot-clock expired and the Jazz led by two, and then Joe Ingles made a three to get the lead to five points, forcing a timeout from Steve Kerr. The timeout was called with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter and the Jazz leading 121-116. Draymond Green nailed a three after the timeout to cut the lead to two points, and then Stephen Curry nailed a three to give the Warriors the lead again. Jae Crowder followed up a missed three from Joe Iggles with a putback to give the Jazz a one-point lead. Timeout was called with with 32.8 left in the fourth quarter and the Jazz leading 123-122 with the Warriors getting possession out of the stoppage. Nothing happened right out of the timeout and the Jazz got possession again, but Donovan Mitchell missed a shot and the Warriors got one more shot after calling timeout with 6.1 seconds left and were down by 1 point. Kevin Durant missed his shot on the inbound play but JONAS JEREBKO TIPPED IN THE GAME WINNER AT THE BUZZER TO GIVE THE WARRIORS THE WIN OVER HIS FORMER TEAM. The Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 124-123.
Kevin Durant finished as the game’s leading scorer with 38 points on 14/25 shooting (1/1 from 3), and he also had nine rebounds with seven assists. Stephen Curry added 31 points while dishing out eight assists. Draymond Green had a near-triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. Klay Thompson had 12 points and played some phenomenal defense on Donovan Mitchell all night. Jonas Jerebko, tonight’s hero, had 10 points on 4/5 shooting against the team he played for last season. As a team, the Warriors shot a combined 56.3% (49/87) from the floor and 52.6% (10/19) from three.
The Utah Jazz played a great game, and the centerpiece of their great performance came from Joe Ingles who scored a career-high 27 points while making seven threes. Donovan Mitchell had 19 points, Jae Crowder had 17, Rudy Gobert added 16, and Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum both had 13 points. As a team, the Jazz shot a combined 44.9% (40/89) from the field and 41.3% (19/46) from three. The Jazz scored a franchise-record 81 points in the first half, which was incredibly impressive because they scored 47 of those points in the second quarter.
This was the most exciting and entertaining Warriors regular-season game of the last three seasons (since Kevin Durant joined the team). The lead changed nearly 30 times, and this battle of Western Conference heavyweights certainly lived up to expectations. Not only was this game entertaining because we saw some incredible performances, we got to see the Warriors actually care about a regular season game again, which is something that was missing last year.
This game really had it all. It had Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored over 30 points. It had Joe Ingles (who looks just like Paul Lieberstein/Toby Flenderson) knocking down nearly every shot he took while the extremely-likeable Jazz shooters got hot. It even had an unlikely hero, Jonas Jerebko, who capped off his revenge-game like an absolute legend.
What a perfect night of NBA basketball.
The Warriors play next on Sunday in Colorado against the Denver Nuggets at 5:00 p.m.