After rolling over a couple of softer opponents, the Golden State Warriors juggernaut is finally in for a real test. The Utah Jazz may be the 6th seed right now, but they came into the season forecast as one of the best teams in the West and have won 12 of their last 15 games.
The Warriors have lost just once since adding Demarcus Cousins, and regardless of the outcome, this matchup against the strong interior defense of Rudy Gobert should be fun.
WHO: Golden State Warrior (40 - 15) vs. Utah Jazz (32 - 24)
WHEN: Tuesday February 12, 2019; 7:30 pm
WHERE: Oracle Arena -- Oakland, CA
WATCH: TNT, NBCSBA (?)
RADIO: 95.7 the game
Jazz are on a roll
As the dust settled after a raucous trade deadline period, the Utah Jazz stood pat. Though they were heavily rumored to be be chasing the Memphis Grizzlies' Mike Conley, the team decided that it wasn’t going to be worth the cost. Their patience in choosing established chemistry and roster seems to have been well placed as the team rides high into their final game before the All Star break.
After some early season struggles, the Jazz are back on track to being one of the best teams in the West. Rudy Gobert made some headlines recently after an emotional outburst over the fact the he was not selected to the NBA All Star team. But the fact of the matter is, he was definitely snubbed. It’s no coincidence that Utah’s early struggles coincided with Gobert’s injury. He’s back now, and the Jazz are looking good.
Also recovered from early season malaise -- sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell is back. He struggled mightily with his shot earlier in the year but has brought his efficiency back in line with where it was last season. He’s dropping 22 points per game, up from around 20 last year. His scoring efficiency is down a bit (.518 TS% as opposed to .541 last season) but he’s climbed back into a respectable sniffing distance of his excellent rookie year.
Rounding out the mix, Utah is getting good stuff out of veterans Ricky Rubio, Derek Favors and yes even Joe Ingles. Rubio never lived up to his hype but is probably playing the best ball of his extremely solid career right now.
Warriors have been surviving on talent, not execution - and they’ll want to clean that up before heading into the break
“That’s the second game in a row the team has got up 20 more shots than us,” Durant said after Sunday night’s win over the Miami Heat. “Whether it’s turnovers or offensive rebounds, we are going to lose in the playoffs like that.”
Against teams like the Suns and Heat, the Warriors were able to get away with it, but mistakes and poor rebounding could easily doom them against higher tier teams like the Jazz. The Warriors are 15th in defensive rebounding percentage and 20th in offensive rebounding, according to NBA.com. Utah is the third best overall team when it comes to rebounds and has definitely noticed the Warriors’ shortcomings in this regard.
But, Golden State does have the talent to overcome rebounding, turnovers, you name it. This is an all-time great team that is simply tuning their machine up before the “real” season starts in April. Speaking of talent, Klay Thompson is back and he’s tearing up the shooting charts recently.
Klay Thompson is 66-of-131 from 3 since the calendar turned to 2019, better than 50%. That's dragged his season percentage all the way up to 39.5%. https://t.co/YnS3zPP7yO— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 11, 2019
The Warriors can’t stop, won’t stop. Warriors by five.