The Golden State Warriors hosted the Utah Jazz on Saturday in what could very well be a series preview for a first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs. It looked like the Dubs were heading towards another disappointing loss for most of the game, but managed to pull out an improbable 111-107 comeback victory.
The Warriors believed they turned a corner following their 107-103 loss to the Suns earlier this week, but the defense that kept them in that game was absent early against Utah. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 11 points on just 4 field-goal attempts in the first quarter and helped Utah build a 30-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Then, the Warriors' defensive lapses combined with an empty offensive run. Utah went on a 16-0 run in the second quarter and built a 21-point lead. Golden State guard Jordan Poole went on a single-handed 8-0 run to help close the lead, but the Dubs still trailed 58-45 at the half.
Golden State showed flashes of defensive intensity throughout the game, but they are still searching for their first full game of dominance. With that said, Klay Thompson made sure the Warriors' offense could keep up in the second half long enough for them to lock-in.
Klay led the Dubs in the third quarter, aided by some big made shots from Gary Payton II and Andrew Wiggins. With the Jazz’s lead down to 6 heading into the fourth, the Warriors had a chance to strike.
As was the story of the game up to that point, the Jazz started the fourth quarter hot, with guard Mike Conley knocking down a pair of difficult threes to set the tone. It looked like Golden State was done for good and would have to settle for another loss.
But Klay happened.
Thompson nailed three threes as part of a 12-0 run that also included a triple from Andrew Wiggins. After trailing 103-87 with seven minutes left in regulation, the Dubs were down just 103-99 less than 90 seconds later.
Both teams went scoreless over the next minute and a half before Klay and Poole hit back-to-back threes to put the Warriors ahead 105-103. Somehow Golden State was not only still alive but in control.
Thompson and Poole got a bit three happy over the next few possessions and came away empty-handed, but the Jazz managed just one point on their end. With the Warriors leading 105-104, Poole slowed things down, got to the hoop, and drew a foul. He made both foul shots and put the Dubs up 3 with under two minutes to go.
Conley answered with a made bucket to bring things to 107-106. A couple of empty possessions put the ball in Poole’s hands with 30 seconds to go, he drove to the hoop and missed, but Rudy Gobert rushed a pass to Bojan Bogdanovich and turned it over. With the shot clock off, the Jazz were forced to foul, and Poole knocked down a pair to put Golden State ahead 109-106.
Mitchell missed a corner three on the other end, Draymond Green grabbed a rebound and was fouled with 7.8 seconds remaining. Green made the first free throw and the Warriors had somehow sealed their victory. With a win, the Warriors put themselves a game ahead of the Mavericks for the third seed in the Western Conference.
Conley and Mitchell each scored 26 for the Jazz, but they did not get enough help to keep up with Thompson and Poole. Klay finished 14-for-28 from the field (8-for-17 from three) with a game-high 36 points. Poole committed five turnovers but added 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Green had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Andrew Wiggins was quietly a game-high +26 with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field.
The Warriors travel to Sacramento tomorrow Sunday, April 3rd, where they will likely rest some key players against the Kings. It’s a lot easier to do that after such an impressive win. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.
Join Marc Delucchi on our latest Warriors postgame show: