Warriors end the Regular Season by Getting Demolished by Utah, Lose 119-79
After defeating the Phoenix Suns and helping them along the path to the number one overall pick, the Golden State Warriors (58-23) went to take on the Utah Jazz (47-33). This was the last regular season game for the Warriors of the 2017-18 NBA season. The team would still be without Stephen Curry, Pat McCaw, and Andre Iguodala, but were looking to close out their regular season with a convincing win over a playoff team. The Jazz were looking to beat the Warriors in order to help them get the best seed possible, and potentially end up with the number three seed in the West. The Jazz went on to beat the Warriors 117-79.
The Jazz played very hard throughout the entire first quarter, and their lead was a good representation of how well they were playing. As a team, they shot the ball at a 51.9% clip from the field, but they did struggle from deep, shooting just 20 percent. Donovan Mitchell was playing as well as he ever has, scoring 12 points on 5/7 shooting. Rudy Gobert had seven points and was the next-highest scorer. The Warriors were playing like the game meant nothing to them. They finished the quarter shooting 33.3% from the field and 16.7% from three. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer for the Warriors with five points, and it seemed like the Warriors couldn’t buy a bucket for the majority of the quarter. It became clear very early that the Warriors just wanted to get out of this game as healthy as they did as they came in. After the first, the Jazz were leading the Warriors 33-16.
The second quarter was more of the same from both teams. The Jazz were making sure that the world knew that this game meant something to them, while the Warriors were sleepwalking and missing every shot they took. Kevin Durant was able to score a little more than he did in the first, and had 13 points at the half. Both Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson had six points, which was the next-highest scoring total behind KD. As a team, the Warriors were shooting an abysmal 31.8% (14/44) from the field, and were 2/8 from three. Donovan Mitchell only had two points in the second quarter for the Jazz, but was still their leading scorer with 15 total points. Ricky Rubio, Royce O’Neale, and Rudy Gobert all had nine points each. The Jazz were just making nearly everything, and shot 52.1% from the floor, despite shooting just 30% from three (6/20). The Jazz were playing incredibly on defense as well, as they do on a regular basis, and they have five blocks and five steals in the first half. The Warriors were held to their season-low amount of scoring in the first half, as the Jazz led 62-33.
In the third quarter, the Jazz continued their all-out assault on the Warriors and my feelings. Donovan Mitchell got back to scoring a bunch, and had 22 points at the end of the third. On his way to 22 points, he hit four threes, which propelled him past Damian Lillard for the rookie single-season three point record. Derrick Favors was up to 16 points, while Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert were tied at 13 points for the Jazz. As a team, the Jazz shot the ball at 56.7% from the field, and 36% from three. Klay Thompson was able to get his shot to fall late in the quarter, and ended up with 19 points, which made it so he averaged 20 ppg this season. The Warriors were shooting 34.3% from the field and 30.8% from three as the third quarter came to a close. After the third, the Jazz led the Warriors 93-56.
The fourth quarter was garbage time for its’ entirety, as was nearly the rest of the game. There were no highlight plays to speak of for the Warriors in the fourth quarter, or any quarter for that matter. Donovan Mitchell was the leading scorer for the Jazz, and finished with 22 points on 8/12 shooting. Derrick Favors had 16 points, Jonas Jerebko had 14, Rubio and Gobert had 13, and Jae Crowder had 11. As a team, the Jazz finished the game with a 53.3% shooting percentage, while shooting 37.1% from three. Klay Thompson was the leading scorer for the Warriors, and finished with 23 points on 9/27 shooting. Kevin Durant was the next-highest scorer with 13 points, and Kevon Looney was right behind Durant with 12 points. The Warriors finished the game shooting 34.9% from the field, and 26.3% from three. Needless to say, the Utah Jazz beat the Warriors 119-79.
So, this game sucked. Let’s just get that out of the way now. The Warriors could not make a shot to save their lives for the majority of this game, while the Jazz were making seemingly every shot they took. The Jazz are in the midst of a hunt for better seeding in the playoffs, the Warriors are not. Long story short, this game meant absolutely nothing for the Warriors, while meaning nearly everything for the Jazz, and the results showed that.
The Jazz are now tied with the Portland Trailblazers for the third seed in the Western Conference, and play them in their final game of the season tomorrow night. That game will change the way that the Western Conference playoffs are shaped, and how the results will end up. If the Blazers beat the Jazz, then the Jazz will be a fourth seed, and will be in the Houston Rockets’ side of the bracket, but if the Jazz beat the Blazers, they get the three seed and are on the Warriors’ side of the bracket. I truly believe that no team in the West, especially GSW or HOU, wants to deal with the Jazz’s defensive attack right now. While playing in Utah this season, the Warriors lost by a combined 70 points in two games, so I can assure you that they would prefer to have the Blazers step up and snap their winning streak.
The Warriors finished the season with a record of 58-24, which would be very good for any other team in the league, but is viewed as a disappointment for this year’s Warriors team. This is the fifth best record in the history of the Golden State Warriors organization, but many expected this team to win a lot more games than they did, and I am included in that large group of people who thought that this season was pretty disappointing. Now, there are very good reasons for why the Warriors lost as many games as they did, and none are more prevalent than the injury issue, as no other team in the NBA this year was hit by more freak injuries than the Warriors were. The team’s four all stars only played in the same game 41 times this year, which is astonishing, and goes to show how devastating the injuries were for this team. Now the Warriors will have a chance to make up for their relatively disappointing regular season by competing for, and taking home, the 2017-18 NBA Championship.