The Golden State Warriors fell in a road clash against the Utah Jazz, 108 to 103. Neither team could pull away from each other in a defensive battle that went down to last minute. The Warriors held the Jazz to just under 40% shooting from the field, but the buckets Utah did make were haymakers, as they knocked down 16-of-42 triples.
The Warriors only shot 40% in their own right, and were 10-of-31 from distance. Stephen Curry scored 32 points and made 5 deep bombs. Kevin Durant had 30 points, but was only 10-of-23 from the field. Klay Thompson could barely buy a bucket, scoring 12 points on 12 shot attempts, and missed all four of his three-pointers.
The champs were in a tough battle, as Utah’s typical smothering defense forced Durant into tough shots that he couldn’t convert (shooting 2-for-11 from the field after two quarters). He met their physicality head on though, powering his way through contact and forcing the refs to blow the whistle. KD went 8-of-9 from the charity stripe early, making it clear he wasn’t going to be intimidated.
With eight points tonight, Kevin Durant (21,814 career points) has passed Gary Payton (21,813) for 32nd on the NBA’s all-time points scored list.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) December 20, 2018
Meanwhile, Curry had no problem activating “Human Torch” mode in the first half, burning the Jazz for 21 points and 4 treys.
The Warriors also made life miserable in the first half for young Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, limiting him to 3-of-15 shooting from the field and 3 turnovers. Mitchell couldn’t find comfortable creases against the Warriors length, and his outside jumper appeared rather suspect (1-for-4 from downtown early on).
The 7-foot-2 Gobert steadied the Jazz with a double-double by half time (11 points and 11 rebounds), at times looking like an 8th grader out jumping 6th graders. I knew at this point we were in for another slugfest in Salt Lake City.
Jazz 56, Warriors 55
The Jazz kept up their stingy defensive ways in the third quarter, with Gobert anchoring them in the paint.
Gobert's had a great night defensively. Not just the shot blocking but the shot spooking.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 20, 2018
The Jazz ran the Warriors off of easy three-point looks, funneling back to their giant rim protector. This led to some bizarre (bad) shot selections, especially from Klay Thompson. Fortunately, Mitchell was right there with him in the race to throw up the highest degree of difficulty jumpers.
Utah took a four point lead into the fourth quarter, and their crowd seemed plenty nervous about the lack of separation. As the teams grinded it out down the stretch, Thompson was called for a touch foul on a 30-foot prayer from Mitchell with 1:37 left and the Jazz up 103-100. Mitchell made 2 out of 3 and the jazz went up six points.
Durant fired back with a three of his own to bring the Warriors to within 106-103. The Jazz cleared out for Mitchell to attack Thompson on the wing...and the youngster promptly kicked the ball off of his leg out of bounds. Yikes. Is this Utah’s hero?
On the Warriors next possession, Andre Iguodala missed a wide open three. Curry snagged the rebound, but got stuck in the corner, allowing Rubio to deftly reach around his body and tap the ball off of Curry’s hands out of bounds for a turnover.
That effectively ended the game.
Gobert finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Mitchell finished 5-of-26 with 6 turnovers. Joe Ingles, a thorn in the Warriors side as always, scored 20 points.