These Warriors sure do have a penchant for getting your hopes up, don’t they? Just when you think they’ve turned a corner, they pull the rug from underneath your pillar of expectations. That’s pretty much what they managed to do by succumbing to the Utah Jazz for the third time this season, 114-106.
The Warriors got off to a raging hot start (by their standards), scoring 29 points in the first quarter and — in a rare display of defensive excellence — allowing the Jazz to put up only 22 points. They dominated the boards with 16 rebounds, with 8 of them of the offensive variety. The Warriors’ back-up big men, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman, played quality minutes and provided energy and hustle off the bench.
Chriss block ✅— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 14, 2019
Spellman bucket ✅
Bigs gettin' it done early pic.twitter.com/yNQPk5IGe8
The Warriors maintained their 7-point lead at halftime by putting up a 27-point second quarter to match the Jazz’s 27 points. The Warriors offense held steady behind the efforts of starter Alec Burks and Damion Lee’s 12 points off the bench. Chriss continued to make an impact off the bench with his hustle on both ends of the floor, including on defense. This resulted in Rudy Gobert being held to only 2 points going into the half. Additionally, the Dubs held a commanding 26-16 rebounding advantage over the Jazz (10-3 on offensive rebounds).
Utah’s transition defense is laughable pic.twitter.com/UiqWR2sIAT— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) December 14, 2019
However, the Jazz took over in the third quarter. They improved their field-goal percentage to 50.0 percent, and their three-point percentage to 40.7 percent. The Warriors defense, after being uncharacteristically suffocating in the first half, started to show cracks, and the Jazz took advantage by taking an 86-84 lead going into the fourth quarter.
CHRISS HAMMERS IT HOME pic.twitter.com/HdzCLCT3JW— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 14, 2019
The Warriors and the Jazz exchanged leads in the final quarter, but in the end, the Jazz proved to be the more experienced crunch-time team. The Warriors fared well and punched back, but successive three-point haymakers from the Jazz’s Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mitchell proved to be too much for the Warriors in the end.
- Burks continues to be the most consistent scorer for the Warriors. He led the team with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. This is his seventh 20-point game, and his ninth-consecutive game scoring in double figures.
- The Warriors bench (52 points) dominated their Jazz counterparts (12 points) by a country mile. In 26 minutes off the bench, Lee scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Jacob Evans III scored 13 points.
- Chriss was arguably the player of the game for the Warriors. He finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds, to go along with 5 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. He was phenomenal on both ends of the floor, despite suffering a knee contusion in the third quarter. (He would eventually return.)
- For the second-straight game, three-point defense was the downfall for the Warriors. They allowed the Jazz to shoot 16-of-38 from beyond the arc, good for 42.1 percent. Bogdanovic was allowed to feast from long range, going 8-of-13 from beyond the arc (matching his career-high in makes) and finishing with 32 points. Gobert recovered in the second half, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Mitchell scored 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, which included a transition corner three that secured the game for the Jazz.
The Warriors return to San Francisco on Sunday to face the Sacramento Kings.