Tip-Off: 7:30 PST
Blog Buddy: SLC Dunk
Coming off of a thrilling win at the buzzer over the Thunder on Thursday night, Golden State ends the home-stand against the downhill-spiraling Utah Jazz. The Warriors have dominated at home thus far, especially against non-elite Western Conference teams, going 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 15.25 points.
The Warriors have thus far crushed inferior teams, and the Jazz may be the worst of the worst this season. Though they have a plethora of young talent, the Jazz organization is willing to sacrifice years of depressing records for a possible payoff if/when that young talent develops and meshes. Much like Indiana, never a real sexy free-agent destination, the Jazz have been content to build their team through the draft. However, unlike Indiana, who has made the playoffs the last three seasons, the Jazz have only made the playoffs once in that time period and have hovered around mediocrity since the firing of Jerry Sloan in 2011. Utah lost four of their top five scorers in the offseason, including excellent big men Al Jefferson to Charlotte and Paul Millsap to Atlanta, and now looks to rebuild (or tank?) behind a talented core that features emerging wing Gordon Hayward, bigs Derrick Favors - recently extended - and Enes Kanter, and currently injured point guard Trey Burke.
Tyrone Corbin, Utah's head coach, is on the hot seat for his inability to squeeze any points or wins out of a talented group of youngsters. Currently, Utah is the owner of an NBA-worst offensive rating, scoring just about 93 points per 100 possessions, and second-worst defensive rating, allowing just under 106 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz have only scored 100 points one time this season, and fell behind by 25 or more five times on their most recent road trip. Their offense has been awful and their defense lackadaisical. Now you see why their team is 1-9 out of the gate.
The Warriors, on the other hand, have dominated both offensively and defensively. Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote Friday about how the Warriors have "only scratched the surface of their lineup versatility" with the recent return of Harrison Barnes. This lineup versatility can allow them to play any way; big, small, fast, slow-it-down, you name it, the Dubs can play it, and play it well. With such flexible lineups, Golden State has held teams to just 96 points per 100 possessions and have scored 105 points per 100 possessions, both top-five marks; the Warriors are the only team in the entire league to exhibit such supremacy on both sides of the floor.
Sorkin's Four Keys to A Warriors Win
- Score, score, score. With their numerous options, including Curry, Thompson, and Iguodala behind the arc, there are few teams that can keep up with the Warriors scoring barrage, quite literally, as Golden State ranks fourth in pace and first in three point percentage. The Jazz, clearly evidenced in the early going, are not one of them. If the Warriors hunt efficient shots and capitalize off turnovers like they did on Thursday night, they will blow the Jazz out of the water.
- Stop Gordon Hayward. He is the center of the offense for Utah, and has had a career-high season so far with averages of 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. If the Warriors with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala can limit his production, the Jazz's offense will hit a wall and struggle massively.
- Dominate the glass. Thursday, Golden State let the Thunder hang around due to their inability to grab any rebounds - the Warriors were out-rebounded by 17. They can't let the Jazz hang around - they have to limit each and every shot and possession the Jazz have. To do that, Andrew Bogut and David Lee must grab rebounds and be the bully in the schoolyard.
- Keep limiting three-pointers. The three point shot is, to quote Kevin Harlan, the "great equalizer" in basketball; we have seen over the past few years that the three-pointer can bring a team back in a hurry or run a team out of the building. To this point, the Warriors have ranked tied for second in opponent's three point percentage, and tied for fifth in fewest three pointers allowed per game. The Jazz, as is their custom this season, have been dreadful in the art of the three-pointer, making a quarter of their three-point attempts, last in the entire NBA.
Tom Haborstroh of ESPN recently called the Warriors the best team in the league. (Insider $) They share the ball on offense, hunt efficient shots and hit them, their defense is tremendous, and they're only getting better with Barnes back. Oh, and they have the league's best shooter at point guard, and arguably the second best at shooting guard. Watch out, Jazz, you're about to get demolished.
- All five starters sit the entire fourth quarter.
- Curry goes for 22 points and nine assists in 30 minutes, including five 3-pointers.
- Klay Thompson puts up another sound stat line with 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
- The Warriors turn the Jazz over over 20 times and turn those into 32 points.
- Andre Iguodala has another sick behind-the-back pass that makes all the highlight reels.
- Warriors by 24, 110-86.