On Friday night, the back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors found themselves bunkered down deep in Utah, as the Jazz launched the mightiest artillery barrage of their franchise’s long and storied history.
The Jazz rained hellfire on Golden State, tallying 10 three’s in one quarter, and finishing with 19 three’s for the game (both franchise records). They had 47 points in the second quarter, 81 at the half.
Yet, much like one glass of milk after the consumption of a dozen “Krispy Kreme” donuts, it wasn’t enough. The Warriors overcame the greatest shooting effort in Jazz history, and stole the win 124-123.
Backs against the wall in foreign territory, and missing two Olympians Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors could have relented and given into the onslaught. But that crucible of frustration and suffering is where character is forged, and brotherhoods are built. Deep in the trenches of hostile territory is where teams discover who they can trust to get the job done when it matters most.
So in light of that...which Warrior was most wondrous last night?
Kevin Durant: 38 pts/9rbs/7asts
Perhaps it was “The Slim Reaper”, Kevin Durant. The one man juggernaut kept the Warriors from being TKO’d by the Jazz’s early flurries with 24 first half points. He detected the Jazz’s brutish defensive tactics were taking away easy three-pointers, so he played downhill in constant attack mode, attempting only one three-pointer. He made it though, finishing 14-of-25 from the field, and scoring on all 9 free throw attempts.
He barreled through the Jazz’s physical defense with the annoyed arrogance of a fabled Greek god of old sent to Earth to teach a lesson to foolish humans.
Durant casually taking it to the hoop and throwing down hard. pic.twitter.com/oVv15GyaWp— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 20, 2018
Steph Curry: 31pts/8asts/4rbs/2stls
But what about Stephen Curry, a.k.a. “Unanimous”? The greatest point guard alive was enraged by a bloodied nose from an uncalled foul in the second half. He channeled his anger into unleashing 16 3rd quarter points to close the gap heading into the 4th.
Once he realized the stiff Utah giant Rudy Gobert had no interest in leaving the paint defensively, Curry came off of screens firing at will. He made 5-of-9 from downtown, finishing 13-of-24 from the field.
Every time he touched the ball in the second half, he was looking to punish Utah and their fans for daring to believe they could win. But for real, Gobert’s value against the Warriors diminishes greatly if this is how he’s going to guard their shooters.
You’re telling me, game on the line, the greatest shooter of all time comes off of a screen and Gobert stands in the paint, waiting for a rebound?
Newsflash Rudy: THERE WILL BE NO REBOUND.
Steph gives the Dubs the lead. pic.twitter.com/JtWL3Ughgc— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 20, 2018
Then again, as fellow GSoMer Joe pointed out, maybe there’s a damn good reason Gobert isn’t coming out there to guard the “The Human Torch”.
Steph Curry had Rudy Gobert dancing... pic.twitter.com/bVtp8A7e5W— TotalProSports (@TotalProSports) May 5, 2017
Draymond Green: 14pts/9rbs/6asts/2blks
Did we forget about Draymond Green, the heart of the team? Green shook off what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury to impose his brand of physicality. The Jazz’s strategy heavily relied on bumping and pushing, and the Dubs’ enforcer wasn’t having any of it.
His boxscore line doesn’t even begin to express how large his presence was in this game. He battled Utah’s formidable bigs for every inch of space on the court, fighting for loose balls, sacrificing his body on screens and charges.
A little pushing and shoving between Dray and Gobert after the whistle. pic.twitter.com/cs1Gl6yVi7— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 20, 2018
Those three All-Stars carried the lions share of the effort last night...but brethren and sistren I am giddy to announce that I believe there is a more wondrous option to choose. This choice is of a new convert into the Brotherhood of Splash; a man that has been much maligned by the impatient and unbelieving members of Dub Nation.
His name is:
JONASSSSSSSSS— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 20, 2018
JONAS JEREBKO 10pts/6rbs/1 game-winner
When both Curry and Durant missed chances to win the game in the waning moments of this hotly contested battle, Jonas Jerebko, a former Jazzman, valiantly answered the call.
The “Swedish Larry Bird” somehow absorbed an illegal push in the back from reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and had the wherewithal to deftly rebound and score in one smooth motion. The follow-up lion roar into the face his old teammates ranks extremely high on the scales of Gold-Bloodedness and Weaponized Joy.
Every critic who was complaining that “JJ” doesn’t space the floor well enough because he’s always cutting into the paint and clogging up space? I BET YOU’RE GLAD HE CLOGGED THE PAINT UP THAT TIME, HUH?
Also, Jerebko showed us that he can knock down the long bombs in a playoff type atmosphere, as he drilled two of his three triples for the game. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, with 6 rebounds. Additionally, he appears to be developing chemistry and trust with Unanimous.
Now, watch as JJ savvily draws in the lumbering Derrick Favors before slinging this fancy dish to Curry in the corner for a soul-shaking trey.
Judging from Curry’s feverish clapping for the ball and Dubs’ announcer Bob Fitzgerald’s high pitched urging for Jerebko to get Curry the ball, this was an extremely high leverage moment to claw out of the Jazz’s weakening grip. JJ made the right play.
Now it’s up to you to make the right vote. This game will forever be known as the “Jerebko Game-Winning Tip”; what a better way to ingratiate himself into the Golden Empire than by dramatically sacrificing the heart of his former team?
Who is the Warriors Wonder from the come-from-behind Jazz victory?
This poll is closed