SALT LAKE CITY — The high point of Wednesday's game for Utah Jazz fans was watching the team's furry mascot play a cute do-as-I'm-doing game with four adorable toddlers dressed in bear outfits.
Other than that, well, most spectators would've chosen eating fruitcake over watching the Jazz get trounced 94-83 by the Golden State Warriors at EnergySolutions Arena.
"It was a sluggish effort all night," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admitted.
In other words, Grandma was fortunate to have been run over by a reindeer, giving her an excuse to miss witnessing Utah get trampled by some Warriors.
That is, unless Grandma is a Stephen Curry fan.
Curry scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out seven assists and even blocked a shot while leading the Warriors to an impressive victory over an unimpressive Jazz team.
"We wanted to start off well," Curry said, "and not let them get any momentum, so that the crowd can stay out of it as much as possible (and) we can have some confidence early in the game."
The crowd of 19,404 certainly stayed out of this for the most part — unless you factor in Bear's adorable act and occasional booing.
Utah didn't give the fans much to cheer for while falling to 15-15 and 9-3 at home.
Playing like someone might've spiked their eggnog with sleeping pills, the Jazz apparently caught up on their Zs while shooting 38.6 percent, watching the Warriors outscore them 25-5 on fast-break plays and scoring in the 80s for the fifth time in the past seven outings.
"It was just an off night for us overall," Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. "Everybody was kind of low on energy, but it just didn't go our way tonight."
Al Jefferson scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, but the Jazz center was only one of three players to reach double figures. The Warriors, meanwhile, had the big night from Curry along with an 18-point, nine-rebound effort from David Lee, and 15 points apiece from Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack.
Utah trailed by 12 points at halftime, fell behind by as many as 22 points and only trailed the visitors by a single-digit margin for 25 seconds in the entire second half.
Let it snooze! Let it snooze! Let it snooze!
"We just didn't bring it," Jazz guard Gordon Hayward said. "Defensively and offensively, we didn't have it today. It was obvious, and that's why we got the loss."
This was the fifth game in the past seven in which the Jazz have only scored in the 80s. Not surprisingly, all five of those showings were losses.
"We've got to get consistent effort. We've got to go hard every play, every cut, every screen in that possession," Corbin said. "The offense — I don't care what offense you're running, if you're not aggressive it's not going to get you what you want."
Part of the Jazz's problem Wednesday was the way the team struggled against a zone thrown at them by the Warriors.
"You almost have to have a no-conscience mentality against a zone like that," Jazz guard Earl Watson said.
That didn't happen. Utah couldn’t bust the zone defense, hitting just 4-of-17 shots from 3-point range. The Jazz weren't much better anywhere else, either, as they hit just 28 of 66 (42.4 percent) of their shots inside of the arc.
"Bad shooting," Corbin said. "(We took) some shots too early in the zone and we bailed (Golden State) out by taking early shots instead of going inside. The shots looked good, but they weren't going in so we should have tried something a little different."
One thing Corbin wouldn't do different?
Change the way he handled the Christmas break. All NBA teams are required to give players at least one day off around Christmas, but the Jazz were essentially given both Dec. 24 and 25 off other than some treatment and light non-court work on Christmas Eve.
Corbin bristled and said "No" when asked if he second-guessed giving them both days off.
"It wasn't like it was a surprise game," Corbin said. "We knew we had to play today, so you had to do whatever you had to do to get yourself ready."
Things got a bit chippy in the first half when Favors and Jack got into what the Jazz forward called "just a little shoving match." It started when Enes Kanter rebounded the ball and swung his arms into the Warriors' Carl Landry. Jack then approached Kanter, and the Golden State guard was greeted by Favors, a fellow Georgia Tech product.
Favors and Jack both received technical fouls — as did Kanter — but the Georgia Tech products laughed it off at halftime.
"He walked up on Enes and I just walked up on him, and that's how it happened," Favors said. "We (are) friends in the summertime and off the court, but on the court we (are) enemies. He walked up to my teammate, so I've got to help out."8 comments on this story
Unfortunately for the Jazz, that's about all the help they got from each other all night.
NOTES: Starting point guard Mo Williams missed his second straight game with what the team is calling a "severely sprained right thumb." ... It doesn't get any easier for the Jazz, who host the red-hot Clippers on Friday and play them again Sunday in Los Angeles. ... Big Al didn't play in the fourth quarter after the Jazz found themselves trailing by 22. ... Utah has lost two in a row at home.