For twenty-four minutes, the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz played a highly competitive ballgame in Salt Lake City. The Jazz were clearly ready to defend home court, as the game was tied 53-53 at halftime. The home team rode their height to a solid rebounding and second chance points advantage, all while hot shooting kept them even with streaking Golden State.
And then the third quarter happened. And it was glorious.
The Warriors ripped off one of the best quarters of basketball you will ever see. By the time it was over, the Warriors had outscored Utah 44-27 on 62% shooting, and turned a nail biter into a laugher.
In that third quarter, Stephen Curry led the gang in a rout. (Should-be) And-one floaters, four point plays, and an 8-for-11 barrage of 23-foot artillery fire sunk the Jazz boat before the EnergySolutions Arena audience knew what happened. Just 3:48 out of the halftime break, the Warriors already hung a 20-8 run on the Jazz. Utah isn't a great defensive team but c'mon. That's just unfair.
Utah battled back and showed admirable fight, cutting the third quarter lead down to seven before the starters put the game away for good with some timely shooting from distance. The Warriors entered
garbage time the fourth quarter up 97-80, and that's all she wrote.
Curry looked every bit like the league's MVP tonight, finishing with an easy 27 points and 11 assists in just under 30 minutes. He was as good as ever in the third quarter, helping himself to 16 points, and his teammates to a number of State Farm-worthy dimes. They'll certainly be eating a Curry lunch dish in Bristol, Connecticut tomorrow.
With this win, Steve Kerr (30-5) has become the best rookie coach in history through 35 contests. No pro hoops coach has ever begun with a better 35-game start.
In other news, Harrison Barnes continued to prove why the corner three is the best shot in the sport. The Black Falcon is shooting over 50% from the corner on the season-quite an improvement for the former "bust."
Draymond Green failed to fill up a box score for the first time in approximately 3.5 ages. A confident three point stroke yielded 15 points on 3-for-4 shooting from deep, and a healthy +16 plus-minus. However, Utah's size neutralized his game on the boards: he grabbed just one rebound in 24 minutes of action.
Center Rudy Gobert, one of GSoM's white whales, played very well for Utah. His line: 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists. Meanwhile, Nemanja Nedovic is hanging out in Spain. Hey, nobody's perfect. Steve Kerr is close.
The Dubs were fortunate to put this one away so early. No Warrior played as many as 30 minutes, and only Curry played more than 25. That means the team should be reasonably fresh for a home game tomorrow night at Oracle Arena. They'll host the scuffling 16-21 Miami Heat, as they play the second game of their own back-to-back.