Two days of home rest did wonders for Golden State, who put on a defensive clinic on their way to the easy 104-74 win. Steph Curry led the way for the Dubs with a quiet 25 points while only playing 30 minutes. The starters sat for the fourth, and Utah never really put up a fight.
The game started with an ugly first quarter which ended 19-15, as neither team decided they wanted to put the ball in the basket. Give credit to great team defense on both sides, but the numbers were equally deflated as both offenses looked like a school yard pick up game.
The beating the Jazz comes down to "can you contain Rudy Gobert and hope the rest of the Jazz can't shoot." It helps when usual scorers like Gordon Hayward can't get going. Their starters would combine for 25 points total on the night, even with Gobert scoring 11. KD shouldered the Warriors for most of the first half with his jumper, though I wish he would have gone to the hole much more than he did to pressure the defense. I understand Gobert is a great rim protector, but you can plan him on the bench with foul trouble with the right level of aggression.
As the Jazz played their brand of slow, grinding ball in the first, they also turned the ball over, killing their productivity. Klay Thompson would find his shot to lead the Warriors through the 2nd quarter as the Dubs slowly grew their lead (capped by a 22-6 run). Highlights: Draymond Green going hulk rage after getting called for a technical after a dunk for hanging on the rim too long. Amazed he didn't get a second tech with the amount he was talking. Also, Shelvin Mack kills the Warriors. Any small guard who can penetrate and finish on floaters will. The half would end at 55-33, advantage Dubs, and well on their way to a season-best defensive performance.
The second half continued the surgical shut down of Utah, while JaVale McGee showed off his passing skills. After McGee announced he is having more fun than he has had in his career on Twitter, he put in a balanced performance while playing with composure, a trait not usually given to our back up center.
Utah finally scored over 20 in a quarter, but still found themselves down 82-54. The only question remaining was how much longer would we see the starters in the last quarter in preparation for the coming road trip.
The fourth would feature a healthy dose of Anderson Varejao, and that’s about all you needed to know. The important moments of the half were as follows:
• Joe Johnson is still playing basketball
• Ian Clark took a nasty fall, and I blame Joe Ingles (Warrior Killer) for undercutting him on the break. He would return after the scare but would leave and go to the locker room.
• The horn section on the NBA TV broadcast (for those who were watching there nationally) was highly annoying
• Damian Jones in garbage time would have been so much more beneficial for him than minutes down in Santa Cruz. Shame on you, front office
• Dante Exum playing garbage minutes for Utah makes me sad
• A lineup featuring McGee, AV and Kevon Looney is nothing but comedy and the constant possibility of a rolled ankle
There would be no highlights in the last five minutes of this game (JaVale shot a three, but did hit a ridiculous fade out of the post), so let’s just all agree it never happened. The game ended at 104-74, and nobody else got hurt.
The Warriors now head to Brooklyn for a matchup against the Nets Thursday, while Utah head over to Sacramento to face Boogie and his boys tomorrow night.