Utah Jazz fall to Golden State Warriors in preseason opener, 83-80
OAKLAND, Calif. – One piece of the Utah Jazz's 2012-13 puzzle was revealed Monday night.
The starting lineup — a favorite fan topic — includes Al Jefferson, the Williamses (Mo and Marvin), Gordon Hayward and, yep, Paul Millsap.
For now, at least.
Hidden somewhere in the puzzle's box is the piece that reveals whether or not that particular lineup can fully mesh and win together.
That outcome didn't happen in the Jazz's preseason opener, which was won 83-80 by the Golden State Warriors.
"We're going to look at different groups," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said regarding starting lineups. "This is the five that I think that gives us a good chance to win going forward. But you know what, we'll see where things fall."
Jazz fans hoping for an undefeated preseason were probably upset the Jazz's shots didn't fall.
But even while Utah only hit 37.5 percent of its shots while giving up just 83 points, it was the team's defense that received the bulk of the postgame brunt in the locker-room.
Too often, the Warriors took advantage of the Jazz's missteps and letups, with David Lee (19 points) punishing Utah on the inside and the likes of Brandon Rush (14) seizing open opportunities on the outside.
It was a good — and early — reminder for the visitors that they remain a work in progress.
"We still have some communication gaps that we've got to work on a lot (on defense)," Corbin said. "Although we didn't make a lot of shots, I thought the execution of our offense when we got in our sets was pretty good. We set screens. We got the right shots. We just didn't make them tonight."
Marvin Williams tied Millsap with a team-high 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting in his Utah preseason debut. But, like his coach, the focus on defensive faux-pas countered him enjoying the fact that NBA basketball is back in action.
"It was fun, man. It's good to get out there and play against somebody else besides ourselves," Williams said. "Obviously, defensively we had a ton of breakdowns. I personally had a ton of breakdowns, so I'm interested to see the film (Tuesday)."
One of Corbin's goals for Monday's preseason opener was to get a lot of players minutes.
Thirteen players saw action, with 11 guys logging double digits, for the Jazz in their loss at Oracle Arena.
Utah had a chance to send the game into overtime after digging out of a 16-point second-half hole, but an off-balanced Randy Foye 3-point attempt bounced off the rim in the waning seconds.
Utah's Starting 5 helped the Jazz take a 21-19 lead after one quarter, but the reloaded Warriors stormed ahead by double digits thanks to the likes of David Lee (19 points) and Brandon Rush (14).
Though the Jazz did lead by two points after the first quarter, they were outscored by 11 in the second half as most of the starters sat.
Mo Williams effectively scored early on, leading Utah with seven points in 10 minutes. The returned Jazz player finished with 11 points, six assists and three rebounds.
The Jazz reserves helped the team scrape back into the game. The group of Jamaal Tinsley, Alec Burks, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter played particularly well together, giving Utah that last shot.
Kanter didn't do the worm or flash his abs to cameras, but he still managed to provide highlights during his energetic 24-minute performance. Kanter had nine rebounds in the first half and finished with the Jazz's only double-double of 12 points and 11 boards.
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