Utah Jazz Defensively Dominate the Warriors Bench in 110-91 Win
After beating the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, the Golden State Warriors (54-18) took on the Utah Jazz (41-32) at home. This game would be the first time this season that none of the four Warriors all stars would be in the starting lineup. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were both still recovering from their recent injuries, Draymond was sick, and Stephen Curry sprained his MCL against the Hawks. Steve Kerr used a brand-new starting lineup that consisted of Quinn Cook, Nick Young, Pat McCaw, Kevon Looney, and JaVale McGee. The Jazz were looking to get back into the win column to keep pace with the Minnesota Timberwolves and stay in the top eight seeds of the Western Conference. The Jazz went on to win the game 110-91.
In the first quarter, the Warriors got off to a pretty solid start. JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook both had four early points. JaVale had a nice move on Rudy Gobert before dunking the ball, while Quinn Cook was 2/2 on his mid range jumpers. McGee also blocked two shots, and Kevon Looney had a big block too. The Warriors were matching the Jazz’s defensive intensity, and they would have to in order to win the game. As the quarter continued on, neither team shot the ball particularly well. As a team, the Warriors shot 34.6% while the Jazz shot 36.8%. Quinn Cook continued to play very well, nailing another mid range jumper as he finished the quarter with six points. Joining him with six points was Andre Iguodala, who came in off the bench and nailed two threes, including one from Curry range. Rudy Gobert was leading the way for the Jazz with seven points, and several of those points came on impressive dunks. After the first, the Warriors led the Jazz 22-18.
The Jazz started the second quarter with a bang, nailing four of their first five shots. They had several big runs in the second quarter that were led by Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, who were hitting everything. David West was able to get two jumpers to fall which helped to stop the bleeding for the Warriors, but other than West, no one on the second unit seemed to be able to get anything to fall on a consistent basis. JaVale McGee then came off the bench and hit a turnaround jumper before he was able to link up with Andre Iguodala on a lob. Both teams cooled off down the stretch, and but the Jazz were able to maintain their lead thanks to the strong play of Rudy Gobert and a lack of foul calls on Quinn Cook. Cook was fouled pretty obviously on back-to-back possessions and neither were called, leading to a technical foul on Steve Kerr. The Warriors were able to cut into the deficit before halftime thanks to a pull-up three in transition from Andre Iguodala, and then a layup from Nick Young. Iguodala led the team in scoring with nine points, while JaVale and Quinn were right behind him with eight points apiece. Rudy Gobert was leading the Jazz with 11 points, and Jae Crowder added 10 points of his own. As a team, the Jazz were shooting 14% better than in the first quarter, and they finished the half shooting 50%, and they were also shooting 53% from three. The Warriors shot 41.3% from the field, but were 3/5 from three. At the half, the Jazz led the Warriors 53-47.
The third quarter saw the Jazz put their pedal to the metal as they throttled the Warriors. They just absolutely took over the game and were better than the Warriors in all aspects of the game. They scored 36 points as a team, and Donovan Mitchell exploded after having a relatively quiet first half. He finished the third with 18 points. Rudy Gobert had 15 points, but was picking up rebounds and blocking shots with ease, as he had 13 rebounds and four blocks through three quarters. Andre Iguodala and Quinn Cook both had 12 points to lead the Warriors in scoring. Iguodala hit his fourth three of the game, which was his season high. The Warriors just could not buy a bucket all quarter, and the Jazz took advantage. After the third, the Jazz led the Warriors 89-65.
The fourth quarter was essentially garbage time for its’ entirety, and that is the first time I have written that for a team that was beating the Warriors this year. The Jazz had their starters in until about halfway through the quarter, then they let their reserves play and the teams traded baskets until the game ended. While the fourth quarter was just as brutal to watch as the two quarters before it, there were some cool, noteworthy things that took place. Damian Jones got some playing time, and scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. Two of his points came on an incredible alley-oop that showcased his athleticism and made me excited to see more of him next year. Pat McCaw got some good shots up in the fourth quarter, and nailed two wide-open mid range jumpers in a row. David Stockton, son of Jazz legend John Stockton, got some playing time for the Jazz and scored two points. Donovan Mitchell hit a really deep three that, frankly, hurt my feelings. The Jazz ended the game shooting a combined 48.3% from the floor, and that included 42.9% from three. The Warriors were much worse, and finished the game with a field-goal percentage that reflected that. They finished the game shooting 41.8% from the floor with a 3pt% of 40% (6/15). The Jazz won the game 110-91.
This game basically went as one would expect a game like this to go. The Jazz are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and the Warriors are without their four all starts which account for over 80 combined points per game. When combined, those two things don’t equal a Warriors win 99 times out of 100. The Jazz played a very good game after the first quarter, and were able to flex their defensive muscles, which can stop nearly any team dead in its’ tracks.
The leading scorer for the Jazz was Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 21 points. He had a very quiet first half and scored less than 10 points thanks to some strong defense from Pat McCaw, but you can’t keep a scorer like Mitchell from scoring for long. Rudy Gobert was as dominant as I have ever seen him, scoring 17 points, grabbing 15 boards, and blocking four shots. The Jazz had seven players score 10 or more points, which was pretty impressive, especially considering that the Warriors only had two players with 10 or more points. Quinn Cook, who I will be calling the Sous Chef from now on, had 17 points. Andre Iguodala was the only other Warrior in double-figures, and he had 12 points. Iguodala hit four threes, which is his season high, and since the All-Star Break, he has been lights-out from beyond the arc, shooting nearly 50%.
The Warriors play next on Tuesday, March 27, at home against the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m.