Not crash the boards. They actually lost that battle on Wed
nesday. But they rebounded from a loss. A tough, gut-wrenching defeat at the hands of the Lakers.
For the 10th time this season, the Warriors responded by handling business. This time, 94-83 over the Jazz.
DAVID LEE: “I think our team did a great job coming off of a loss and getting refocused. We had a couple of days to get away from the game. Those were some frustrating days – all of us couldn’t wait to get back on the court and play another game after our loss toL.A.(Lakers), a game which I thought we should have won.”
The Warriors improved to 11-6 on the road, which ties them withSan Antoniofor the most road wins in the NBA.GoldenStatereturned to being the gritty, resilient defensive team they’ve been, and added some tempo to the offense for good measure.
The result was a surprisingly easy win over a Jazz team that entered the game 9-2 at Energy Solutions Arena.
DRAYMOND GREEN: “That’s just a mentality we have. When we’re on the road, we just have the feeling that it’s us against the world. It shows in the game — the camaraderie that we bring, the toughness that we bring. You kind of want to have that same mentality at home. But we have great fans so it’s hard to feel like that at home.”
More on Wednesday’s defeat …
MVP: Stephen Curry
Ended up watching the game again on League Pass. The Jazz broadcast team talked about Curry in such glowing terms. Like many teams,Utahlooked at Curry as the cog to the Warriors’ success, so they made a few adjustments to try to stop him. After Jamaal Tinsley failed miserably, they tried Earl Watson. Then the bigger off guard Alec Burks.
Still, Jazz couldn’t hold him.
It was an off shooting night (7 of 18) by his standards, but he finished with a game-high 23 points to go with a season-high-tying 8 rebounds and 7 assists (with two turnovers). He was in that mode where he walked around as if he knew he couldn’t be guarded. His six free throw attempts (only Paul Millsap had as many) suggests how aggressive he was on offense.
He was hot in the first half (18 points on 5 of 11) to help the Warriors build the lead. In the second half, with his shot not falling as much, he became a playmaker (5 second-half assists), as he had Utah’s full attention.
MDP: Carl Landry
He settled a lot against Utah’s bigs. He was 4 of 12, with 10 of those shots being jumpers. His first eight shots, over three-plus quarters, were jumpers. He made just one. On top of that, he had two rebounds in 22 minutes, with two turnovers.
Certainly, you can’t be on every night. But Wednesday was definitely an off night for Landry.
KEY MOMENT I: The Warriors led 37-32 after a Burks driving dunk with 4:22 left in the second quarter. But Golden State closed the half with a 12-5 run to finish the first half strong and take a comfortable 49-37 lead.
After a pair of Klay Thompson free throws, Jarrett Jack turned a steal into a 3-pointer, putting Golden State ahead 42-32. Over Utah’s next six possessions after the Burks dunk, the Warriors held them to 0-for-2 shooting with four turnovers.
Just over a minute after Jack’s 3-pointer, Thompson nailed a 3-pointer in transition to put the Warriors up 13. With 1:23 left, a jumper by David Lee, put the Warriors up 14.
YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “There were some comments made about our basketball team, basically calling us a soft team. I think tonight, and not just tonight but over the course of the season, we showed that’s not the case. That was kind of the old stigma with the Golden State Warriors, but I think this group is an ultimate bunch. I’m not pointing towards any altercation. That’s not being tough. Tough is being able to go on the road, withstand runs, mentally execute all of your plays and tune out this noisy crowd that always keep them in games, and still come in here and execute and be successful.” — Jarrett Jack
COACH’S CORNER: The win over the Jazz was a direct result of Jackson’s game plan. No one went bananas to carry the Warriors. Wednesday was about execution.
First off, Jackson prescribed a lot of zone defense. While zones theoretically opens up perimeter shooting, it limits space for post-ups. Since Utah’s bread and butter is dumping it down to Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, zone was a great call.
Jefferson was 8 of 15 with 18 points. Millsap was 4 of 10 with 14 points. Only other Jazz player in double-figures was Enes Kanter, who was 4-for-4 for 10 points. But that wasn’t nearly enough damage. And with Utah not hitting its outside shots (12 of 41 outside the paint, including 4 of 17 from 3-point range), there was no way the Jazz could score enough.
Another smart move by Jackson was playing Biedrins. He played 18:46 off the bench, totaling 12 rebounds and a block. Without gave the Warriors a big presence on defense without hurting the offense.
DAVID LEE: “Andris played unbelievable tonight. Every time we needed a big rebound, he was there.”
Jackson played 9 players at least 13 minutes, with the least time going to Ezeli (13:42) and Green (15:12). With a physical back-to-back coming up, it was a smart move to spread the wealth. Just 35 minutes for lee, 32 for Klay. Curry played 38, his average, but he got to rest down the stretch.
Another thing I thought really worked was Jackson didn’t take the ball out of Curry’s hands so much. Even with Jack on the floor, he kept Curry at point quite a bit. Since Jack is now a “knock-down shooter” — 5 of 9 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3-point range — he can play some off guard. The offense, though perhaps more secure, is not as fluid when Jack is running the point. Not as many options, so not as hard to defend.
KEY MOMENT II: The Warriors’ lead was at 11 with 3:32 left in the third quarter. A couple baskets by Jazz and it’s a single-digit game heading into the fourth quarter. Instead, the Warriors held them to three points the rest of the quarter: 0 of 6 shooting with three turnovers over the final 3:32.
A Landry jumper put Golden State up 70-57 with 2:50 left, then a runner by Jack pushed the lead to 15 a minute later. After a free throw by Gordon Hayward (who was 1 of 4 from the FT line, BTW), Thompson got free for another 3-pointer. Golden State led 75-58 entering the fourth after another strong finish to the quarter.
TELLING STAT: The final fast-break points tally — Warriors 25,Utah 5. When the Warriors’ fast-break is clicking, it’s usually a product of good defense, and it means they’re playing at the pace they want. Holding the Jazz to 38.6 percent shooting and forcing 15 turnovers fueled the transition game, and the Warriors capitalized to tune of 8-for-8 shooting on fast-break opportunities.
JACKSON: “It was a great team effort, we defended and held them to a season low with 83 points, and we paid attention to detail and played our pace. … We made shots, we defended the basketball, we understood what could help us. Our guys did a great job of following the game plan, taking care of the basketball and not allowing them to dominate the paint and dominate the boards.”
SERIOUSLY?: The Warriors got into a bit of a scuffle on Wednesday — yes, the Warriors — taking their new-found edginess to a new level.
It was harmless, no doubt, but symbolic. With just over 9 minutes left in the second quarter, Jazz big man Eric Kanter got an offensive rebound and was hit in the face when Landry swiped at the ball. Kanter swung his body wildly to get Landry off him. Jack took exception to Kanter’s reaction and walked into Kanter’s face.
Favors stepped in to push Jack away and the former Georgia Tech stars (five years apart) got tangled in a scuffle. Immediately, a holding-pushing-barking match ensued. Replays showed no punches were thrown. Kanter was given a technical foul. Jack and Favors were hit with offsetting technicals.
Gotta love Jack, a point guard, going at a center in defense of his power forward. Guess who else ended up in the mix?
GREEN (smiling): “You know I had to get in there.”
KEY MOMENT III: With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Warriors up 17, Curry dribbled hard to his left off a screen at the top. He then zipped back to his right, blowing past Utah’s Derrick Favors with an around-the-back dribble. Getting all the way to the rim, Curry converted a circus layup, banking in an improbable scoop shot after absorbing a chest bump in the air from Favors.
Utah answered with a Hayward jumper. But Curry responded with a 3-pointer to push the Warriors’ lead to 82-62. There was still 9:10 left, but it was evident this wasn’t a game the Warriors were going to allow a run to let the team back in the game.
Jackson cleared the bench with 3:06 left.
BEFORE YOU GO: Warriors forward David Lee had 18 points and 9 rebounds on 7 of 16 shooting. That snapped a 12-game streak in which Lee totaled at least 20 points, shot 50 percent or better, and grabbed at least eight rebounds. Only three other plays in NBA history have maintained such a streak for a minimum of 12 games. Wilt Chamberlain. Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Shaquille O’Neal. With streaks like that, it’s going to be tough to keep Lee out of the All-Star Game.