The Golden State Warriors defeated the Utah Jazz 123-116 in their first game of 2022. After their matchup against the Denver Nuggets was postponed a couple of days ago, the Dubs carried that added rest into an excellent shooting performance. While they finished 15-for-22 from the free-throw line, they made 53.2% of their three-point attempts in route to their 28th victory of the season.
With Draymond Green still unavailable in the COVID-19 protocol, Otto Porter Jr. started in his place and filled his shoes admirably. After a scoreless performance against the Nuggets on Friday, Porter helped the Warriors jump out to a fantastic start. At the end of the first quarter, with the Dubs leading 29-24, Porter led them in points (11), rebounds (4), and assists (5).
Jordan Poole appeared in his first game since clearing the COVID-19 protocol but struggled to shake off the rust. He picked up three fouls and two turnovers in his first extended minutes. However, it’s worth noting that Poole was coming off the bench for the first time this season. With Klay Thompson’s return imminent, it seems like Warriors head coach Steve Kerr might be prepping Poole to adjust to a new role.
The Jazz dropped into a box-and-one throughout Saturday’s game, but Stephen Curry found a little room to operate early in the second quarter to extend the Warriors lead to double digits for the first time in the game. Then, when Curry went to the bench, Andrew Wiggins caught fire and led Golden State’s offensive charge.
The Jazz improved their three-point percentage from 19.0% to 29.4% in the first four minutes of the second half, quickly cutting the Warriors lead to 4. Gary Payton II responded with some big buckets, but the Jazz’s offensive explosion continued. With Wiggins and Porter quiet, Utah pulled away halfway through the third quarter and led 91-86 heading into the fourth.
While the Warriors were able to take advantage of Rudy Gobert early in pick & roll action, the Jazz adjusted and their center lived up to his elite billing. Gobert impacted the Dubs shots inside all game and finished with 20 points, 19 rebounds, and a Jazz-high +10 plus/minus. Off the bench, Jordan Clarkson was a huge part of the Jazz’s comeback effort. Clarkson finished the game 8-for-14 from the field with 20 points.
With Porter and Wiggins quiet in the second half, the Warriors struggled to create an extended run. Curry sat to start the fourth quarter, but Poole and Andre Iguodala knocked in some huge buckets to enable Curry to return while the Dubs were within two points.
Curry tied the game at 101 on a deep three soon after he reentered, and Wiggins scored 8 straight Warriors points to give them their first lead of the fourth quarter. Porter soon followed with a mid-range jumper of his own before Curry made a pivotal three of his own. But it was Andre Iguodala who put the game away, with a right-wing three with 40 seconds left that extended Golden State’s lead to 7.
Steph was solid, but unexceptional for his standards, finishing 8-for-18 from the field with 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds. Wiggins and Porter, though, each put up impressive final lines. Wiggins scored 25 points and continued making his case for an All-Star selection. Porter racked up 20 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
The Warriors now return home and get one day off before they host the Miami Heat on Monday, January 3rd at 7:00 pm PST.
Want to talk more about the Warriors and their latest game? Hop on over to Twitch and join Marc Delucchi’s postgame Twitch stream.