With both teams playing their second game in two nights, the Utah Jazz edged the Golden State Warriors 88-87. In a low-scoring affair compared to encounters of the past, the Jazz mustered just enough offense in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to nip Golden State. Utah, winners of four consecutive, recorded their first road victory of the season
It was a well-rounded effort for Tyrone Corbin’s team, with 10 players registering 13 or more minutes. Six players scored between nine and 18 points.
Minus backcourt mate Stephon Curry, high-scoring guard Monta Ellis tallied 32 points, but did so on 8-22 shooting. Prior to missing a last-second jumper for the win, Ellis committed a key turnover that led to the go-ahead free throw by Gordon Hayward.
Bouncing Back: Raja Bell, the subject of some early season criticism, had his best performance of the year. He started out well, nailing two quick jumpers to start the game and finished with a very welcome nine points and three assists. More importantly, his hounding defense on Ellis, especially the final minute, was integral.
Second night, second-year players: In the second night of a back-to-back set, Utah’s sophomores Hayward and Derrick Favors bounced back from a fairly quiet Friday effort. Hayward played a solid all-around game, with a team-leading 18 points, as well as four assists and six rebounds. He displayed the aggressiveness that has sometimes been missing the past few outings, especially when he grabbed the deflected ball that sent him to the line with 11 seconds left in the game.
Picking up the slack for the foul-plagued Paul Millsap, Favors recorded his second double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds), while continuing to make his defensive presence known with two blocked shots. He is getting more and more confident offensively and had some nice moves over Warrior David Lee.
Zoning out: For the first time this early season, Utah’s opponent threw a zone defense at them for an extended period of time. The Jazz had difficulties combating that, as evidenced by their low overall shooting (just 39.5% from the field). After a strong outside shooting start, thanks to Raja Bell, Devin Harris, and Gordon Hayward, things really tailed off. Utah shot a paltry 4-16 from downtown. This is an area of concern going forward.
Energy Impact: Ex-Jazzman Mark Jackson’s Golden State squad received a somewhat surprising boost from a pair of recently acquired guards, Brandon Rush and Nate Robinson. The duo combined to hit seven 3-pointers en route to 25 points. Rush, acquired from the Indiana Pacers, brought an offensive spark with his outside shooting. Robinson, cut by the Oklahoma City Thunder, invigorated the Warriors with his high-energy.
Utah received solid energy from rookie Enes Kanter, who used his big body effectively against a smaller Warriors front court. His six points and seven rebounds were vital. Likewise, Josh Howard continues to impact games outcomes with his aggressiveness on both ends.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for the Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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