The Utah Jazz only have a few weeks left to steal a playoff spot, and they helped themselves mightily with a 110-91 beatdown of the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. Sure, the Warriors were missing four future Hall-of-Famers, as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green are all frozen in cryogenic healing tanks miles underneath the Earth’s surface. Yet, the hungry Jazz showed no compassion, torturing the defending champions “B” squad with a determined flair.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz’s onslaught with 21 points, Rudy Gobert added 17 points and 15 rebounds. Noted Warriors-killer Joe Ingles chipped in 14 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Dubs were led by Quinn Cook’s 15 points, with Andre Iguodala knocking down four three-pointers for 12 points.
The first half resembled some classic 90’s basketball. The Warriors only attempted 5 three-pointers at the break, making three (which were all made by Iguodala!).
There was also a battle between two giant 7-footers, hearkening back to the days of Robinson vs Shaq, or Mourning vs Ewing.
Okay, that might be an exaggeration.
Javale McGee, full of emotion after accidentally knocking Stephen Curry out of the first round of the playoffs, gave the business to the “Stifle Tower” on the low block.
Was that McGee or Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon?! McGee went toe-to-toe with Gobert in a battle of the giants during the first half. After two quarters, McGee had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and the vociferous support of the Roaracle Crowd.
Gobert was nonplussed however, responding with 11 points, 5 boards, and 4 blocks in the first half. That guy’s a beast. The Jazz shot 50% from the field, and drilled 7-of-13 three pointers to give them a 53-47 advantage.
Also, another Warriors injury concern after Quinn Cook took some contact on a shot attempt:
Quinn Cook came up limping after that drive. Steve Kerr pulls him. Trainers now working on his lower leg. We've gotten to an unlikely point of the season when any potential Cook injury feels significant, but it does.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 26, 2018
Cook would return in the third quarter in spry fashion, but it was irrelevant. The Jazz imposed their will in the third quarter with lock-down defense and an opportunistic offense. Mitchell sliced and diced anyone in his way (except Iguodala) and Ingles lit up Golden State’s helpless role-players with accurate jumpers.
The Warriors weren’t sure who to turn to for buckets against Utah’s vicious pressure, and the offensive system crashed, “blue screen of death” style. After three quarters, a six point lead had exploded into a 89-65 Jazz advantage.
Then we got a Damian Jones sighting, folks. I wonder if the Warriors front office notices what the Houston Rockets are doing with Clint Capela, and see Jones’ potential as a wiry big-man with pogo-stick athleticism.
Jones showed some explosiveness around the rim on offense, and was very active on defense. He had a productive 12 garbage-time minutes, with 6 points and 4 rebounds. I’d be interested to see him play some more now that the regular season is almost wrapped up.
Wellp, looks like the Warriors need their All-Stars to win games. In the meantime, this game allowed us to examine the quality moments of the role players. Kevon Looney, in particular, showed glimpses of the potential of his menacing length. He was hyper-active in the first half, swarming with help defense, and forcing his way for layups on offense.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Utah in the playoffs once we get some of our Olympians back. Could we sweep them TWO years in a row? Hmmmm.
The champs will play again Tuesday, against the Pacers. Let’s see how the young fellas handle that challenge.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Jazz?
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