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Warriors introduce Jazz to the Golden State grindhouse

Golden State granulates Utah into some gnarly Park City powder

NBA: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors
Zaza exerting his defensive prowess
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors are beginning to take joy in suffocating opponents with their swarming length and athleticism. And that should be terrifying to the rest of the NBA.

Not a single point was registered through the first five minutes or so of action, but don’t be fooled by the slew of missed shots.

This wasn’t a case of the Warriors being tired or the Jazz playing sloppy. This was two of the NBA’s better defensive teams each trying to impose their will against one another.

The game plan for Steve Kerr was simple — challenge jump shots, keep the ball out of the paint and rebound. And the Warriors wasted no time getting down to business.

Golden State out-rebounded their opponent for the third straight game, improving their record to 14-0 when recording more rebounds than their opponent. They also forced Utah into 23 turnovers, an opponent season-high.

“We did it as a team, our defense is getting better,” Kevin Durant said after the game. “That was great on our end as far as being mentally tough and fighting through the tough time when our offense isn’t clicking.”

Durant also noted that it was “cool” to see how well the Warriors guarded throughout the game. Hear that kids? Kevin Durant thinks defense is cool.

And that is exactly the type of attitude that will take this Golden State team to the next level. It is the same attitude that helped them win a championship in 2015 and led them to an NBA record 73 wins in 2016.

The thing that puts the Warriors in a class by themselves is their ability to be an elite team on both ends of the floor and use each side to enhance the other. Tuesday night was a perfect example of how the defense picked up the offense when it was needed most.

“It’s just bringing that consistency,” said Stephen Curry in his post game press conference. “For us, it was a great sign that our offensive struggles in the first five minutes didn’t affect our defensive performance and intensity and focus.”

This is the mentality of a championship team. The Warriors’ defense bought time for the offense, swarming the Jazz with their length and aggressiveness. Golden State currently leads the NBA in steals, blocked shots, contested shots and deflections.

I will leave you with this: The Warriors have won 99% of games (77-1) in which they held their opponent to under 100 points since the start of the 2014-15 season. A little D with a lot of O can go a long way in today’s NBA.

Game Notes

via Warriors PR

  • Curry made his 1700th career three-pointer and is just four makes away from tying Dirk Nowitzki for 16th on the list of all-time made three-pointers. Nowitzki has played 821 more career games than Curry.
  • The Warriors earned their NBA-best fifth win by at least 30 points this season. The franchise record for most wins in a season by at least 30 points is six.
  • Kerr’s kind words on JaVale McGee:

“I think JaVale has really established himself and he gives us a spark every time he goes out there. He took 14 shots in 15 minutes, so we like that. Called him Klay McGee tonight. The guy is an absolute joy to be around. JaVale has added so much to our team. He gives us a burst as you can see. He’s such a great teammate and a fun person to be around. I love what he’s brought to our group.”

Klay McGee or JaVale Olajuwon?

Andrew Flohr is the credentialed writer for GSoM. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

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