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Game preview: Warriors Jazz up Oracle Arena

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Warriors welcome the coolest hep cats in the association to Oracle.

The Warriors are 2-0 versus the Utah Jazz this season.
The Warriors are 2-0 versus the Utah Jazz this season.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup

56-6 (27-0 Home)

vs.

29-33 (10-21 Away)

Details

March 9, 2016

Oracle Arena -- Oakland, CA

7:30 pm PST

Local TV: CSNBA | Online: NBA.com/TNTovertime | Radio: KNBR 680 AM

Blog Buddy: SLC Dunk

Projected Starters

Stephen Curry

G

Rodney Hood

Klay Thompson

G

Shelvin Mack

Harrison Barnes

F

Gordon Hayward

Draymond Green

F

Derrick Favors

Andrew Bogut

C

Rudy Gobert

Key Injuries

Andre Iguodala - Questionable (hamstring)

Festus Ezeli - Out (knee)

Dante Exum - Out (knee)

Alec Burks - Questionable (ankle)

Tibor Pleiss - Assigned to D-League

★★★

Don't envy the Utah Jazz.

The blokes from Salt Lake will fly in to Oakland in the wee hours of the night, ahead of their tilt with the Golden State Warriors. Making matters worse, they're fresh off of a 91-84 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, at home.

The Jazz, who have been a disappointing 10-21 on the road this season, will have to rely on their defense to pressure a Warriors squad that has been incredibly vulnerable the past two games. With 20+ turnovers in back-to-back games to the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic, the Dubs will have to do a better job against a better defensive team.

The Jazz defense leads the league in assists allowed per game, and is dead last in pace. That usually makes for quite the mash-up of a basketball game.

Back on November 30, the Warriors barely edged past the Jazz in Utah 106-103, thanks to a fourth quarter scoring burst from Stephen Curry. The Jazz played a clean game, offensively, with just eight turnovers. More importantly, they limited the Warriors to just 21 assists, against 15 turnovers. Less than a month later, the Warriors bonked the Jazz 103-85 on December 23, pushing the home team to 27-1 at the time. The Warriors had a more characteristic 26-to-15 assists to turnover ratio.

In both games, the Jazz front line has held its own, equaling the Warriors on the glass. For that reason, each game has been played at the slower Jazz pace: fewer possessions for the Dubs means less opportunity for Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson to start splashing threes (as a general rule in basketball, if you want to upset a high scoring or three-point shooting team, play slower).

If the Warriors can protect the ball reasonably well, they should be able to outlast a tired Jazz team at home. However, Utah's slow pace, and imposing front line could be trouble for Golden State, whose front court is without Festus Ezeli and (probably) Andre Iguodala.

If GSW can take the victory, they will have a day off before their rematch with the Portland Trailblazers, in Oakland. They're back in action the next night, as they host the Phoenix Suns. The Utah Jazz return home to host the Washington Wizards, Friday.

*Jazz glossary found here.