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Warriors vs Jazz preview: A win would be nice; an injury-free game would be nicer

Steph, KD, and Klay are all still in their healing chambers. But Draymond will be back to battle against last year’s DPOY runner-up in Gobert and the surging Jazz.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Game details

WHO: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors

WHEN: Sunday, March 25th; 5:30 p.m.


RADIO: 95.7 The Game

Blog Buddy: SLC Dunk

The injury report if presented by DJ Khaled, aka “Another one”

In case you haven’t heard the breaking news, Stephen Curry suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain a couple days ago and will most likely not be seen again until the later stages of the playoffs should we make it that far.

I’m not sure what we have done as an organization and fanbase to have become forsaken by the Gods of Ball-halla.

But the way bodies have been dropping over the past month, the option to simply forfeit the rest of the games between now and the playoffs seems like a logical solution to start the postseason with at least some of the team’s roster intact.

Alongside Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will also miss the game against the Jazz as they continue to recover from their injuries. Omri Casspi and Patrick McCaw meanwhile are both listed as questionable.

On a more positive note, Draymond Green has been upgraded to probable, which should be a boon in this matchup featuring Utah’s own defensive stalwart and big man extraordinaire, Rudy Gobert.

Prospects shining in the absence of stars

Amongst all of the tragedy flowing around these parts, the arrival of Quinn Cook and the increasingly impressive play of Kevon Looney have been some of the brighter spots poking through the seemingly never-ending darkness.

Despite being moved to the bench to make way for Curry’s return, Cook pretty much sealed the deal on a playoff roster spot with another great performance against the Atlanta Hawks.

Then there’s Jordan Bell, who got the start in that game and also put together a really solid outing as he continues to show a certain polish not often associated with rookies.

Considering the way the past month has unfolded, there’s no telling which one of these guys the team may need to rely on more heavily during the postseason, making all of this extra game time experience an invaluable commodity that may payoff somewhere down the road for the team.

Like when Cook eventually drops 30 off the bench to seal a Game 6 win over the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals...

One can dream.

Stopping the Jazz might mean just not getting stopped by the Jazz

It’s crazy to think that the Jazz at one point were looking dead in the water earlier this season. But since the All-Star break, the team has gone 11-4 and have found themselves in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.

In that time, they have boasted the best defense in the league by a wide margin, allowing their opponents to score only 95 points per 100 possessions — a mark that is an absurd 6 points better than the runner-up. As a reference, that is the same difference between the ratings of the second and fifteenth ranked teams.

This has allowed them to post the second best net efficiency rating in that time span despite having a bottom-ten offense.

The last time these two teams met, the Jazz demolished the Warriors 129-99. But they also shot an out-of-character 58% from the field and made 14 three-pointers as they got an otherworldly performance from Joe Ingles (6-for-8 3PT).

Sure the Warriors played some incredibly sloppy defense that night, but it wouldn’t be farfetched for the Jazz to still come a bit back down to earth for this game.

Furthermore, the Warriors defense has rounded back into form over the past month, sporting a top-ten defensive rating and holding opponents to 103 points per 100 possessions.

The larger issue is who will step up to fill the scoring void with the team’s best offensive players all sitting this game out. If anything, this game is setup to be a classic defensive slugfest battle of will and physicality.

With that being said, let’s just all pray the Warriors can at the very least walk away without having to add another name to their injury list.

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