The Golden State Warriors were blown out by the Utah Jazz 111-85. Golden State had been dominating their way through a weaker portion of their schedule, reeling off nine straight victories prior to Wednesday’s matchup, but the fourth-seeded Jazz bounced back from a slow start to dominate the Dubs.
A disparity in both teams’ playing style and some strange refereeing made for a well-played but visually confusing game. Even without center Rudy Gobert, the Jazz rely on more traditional plotter big men, like Udoka Azubuike and Hassan Whiteside. For that reason, they can play a physically imposing, and slow, brand of basketball. The referees allowed a lot of contact on Wednesday, and it seemed to generate a lot of messy stretches where both teams looked like they were playing at 50% speed.
The Warriors jumped ahead 13-0, driven by Otto Porter’s outside shooting, Jordan Poole’s offensive aggressiveness, and poor shooting by Utah. Then, the Jazz’s shots began to fall, and the refs started swallowing their whistles. Poole had five free-throw attempts in the first three minutes of regulation, but Golden State only had 12 more shots at the line over the rest of the game.
The Dubs’ lead quickly evaporated. They momentarily trailed 21-20 and only led 31-30 at the end of the first quarter.
Stephen Curry got off to a slow and sloppy start. He had a pair of early turnovers and missed some open shots. Poole carried the Warriors offense for most of the first half, scoring 13 points in the two quarters. Cury, though, seemed to be finding his rhythm in the second quarter and finished the half with 10 points.
Still, the Dubs looked out of sorts offensively. Without an answer for Hassan Whiteside’s size, the Warriors seemed in their own heads. They struggled to balance attacking the rim with playing into Whiteside’s greatest strength: shot-blocking. Whiteside had 5 blocks in his first nine minutes of action. It looked as if the Warriors never recovered offensively. He finished the game with 9 points, 17 rebounds, 7 blocks, 2 steals, and 2 assists.
The Jazz built a seven-point lead in the middle of the second quarter, and they went into halftime ahead 55-49. The Warriors briefly retook the lead on an 8-0 run to start the second half, but the Jazz finally stretched their lead to double-digits with a few minutes to go in the third. Despite some counterattacks, a 5-0 run by Bojan Bogdanovic to close the quarter put Utah ahead 79-65 heading into the fourth.
Poole and Curry both fell off in the second half and Andrew Wiggins, while more efficient, could not carry the Warriors offense without more help. Poole and Curry combined for 34 points on 10-for-27 shooting from the field. Wiggins finished 5-for-11 for 13 points. They were the only three Dubs in double figures before garbage time.
While the Dubs relied almost entirely on Wiggins, Curry, and Poole for their scoring, the Jazz had a far more egalitarian attack. Less than halfway through the third quarter, all nine Jazz players who had stepped on the floor had already scored at least five points. Bogdanovic, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Azubuike, Trent Forrest, and Jordan Clarkson all finished in double figures, but only Bogdanovic reached 20 points (23). Aside from Whiteside, Mitchell finished with the most impressive stat line, recording 14 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 block.
Utah put the game away with an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter that gave them the first 20+ point lead of the day. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr waived the white flag a couple of minutes later.
Juan Toscano-Anderson hit some threes in the final minutes, finishing with 11 points, but the Warriors were without any standout performances. Even rookie Jonathan Kuminga, who did score 12 points, was a game-worst -29 in plus/minus, struggling to deal with Utah’s elite defense and size in his 23 minutes of playing time.
Golden State will have an opportunity to erase this blowout loss from their recent memory tomorrow. They are traveling back to San Francisco tonight and will be hosting the New York Knicks back home at Chase Center tomorrow, February 10th, at 7:00 PM PST.
No postgame Twitch stream tonight, but you can go follow and subscribe to our own Marc Delucchi to get notifications when he’s going live talking Warriors.