The Golden State Warriors put together their most complete game of the year on Sunday afternoon, beating the Utah Jazz 131-119 at Chase Center. It halted a four game losing skid that had featured 20+ point losses to the second, third, and fourth seeds in the Western Conference.
So naturally they were up for the challenge against the first seed. Basketball can be weird.
But how did they do with their pregame keys to victory? Let’s revisit and find out.
The key: Don’t play like the game is lost before it is actually lost.
The outcome: I was really worried about this one. Given how deflating the Warriors losses have been lately, I wouldn’t have been surprised by a despondent performance out of the gates against the top team in the West.
But no. The Dubs did the opposite, coming out firing and confident, and building a double-digit lead thanks to an early 15-0 run.
As a result, they took an 11-point lead into the second quarter, and never gave it up.
Grading the key: 10 out of 10.
Keep the Spider in check
The key: Hold Donovan Mitchell to an inefficient game.
The outcome: Mitchell had a decent, but not stellar game from an efficiency standpoint, shooting 7-for-18 from the field and 6-for-8 from the free throw line en route to 24 points.
That doesn’t qualify as an inefficient game, but it doesn’t qualify as a super efficient one, either. It was good enough in this case.
Grading the key: 5 out of 10.
Drain the triples
The key: Shoot a better three-point percentage than Utah.
The outcome: Last I checked, 51.6 is a larger number than 34.1, and those are the Warriors and Jazz’s three-point percentages, respectively. The Warriors managed to make more threes than Utah despite attempting 13 fewer shots from distance.
That helps win games.
The Dubs shot 16-for-31 from beyond the arc, led by Steph Curry (6-for-9), Andrew Wiggins (3-for-4), and Jordan Poole (3-for-5).
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
Clean the glass
The key: Don’t get massacred on the glass.
The outcome: Notice how I said “don’t get massacred” and not “do well.” Utah was always going to win this rebounding battle. They did, in a pretty big way, but it wasn’t a total massacre.
The Jazz snagged 11 more rebounds than the Dubs, led by a career-high 28 from Rudy Gobert. That’s a pretty decisive loss on the glass, though the Warriors were competitive enough to win, and that’s all that matters.
Grading the key: 4 out of 10.
An impressive win. They should do it again, I think.