The Golden State Warriors are arguably the best offensive team in the NBA, and they certainly backed it up Saturday versus the Utah Jazz. If their opponents blink, they will take advantage of that lapse. While Utah battled back valiantly in the second half, Golden State’s powerful firepower was just too much to overcome. The Warriors scored a 102-88 win over the Jazz.
Coming off a tough loss to the San Antonio Spurs Friday evening, Utah looked exactly like a team that was playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road. Its energy was listless at the start, and that was enough for the high-scoring Warriors to establish a nice cushion that was ultimately insurmountable for the Jazz. While Utah mounted a furious run in the third quarter, Golden State ended up winning three of the four quarters, and things never got closer than a seven-point separation.
Three-point shootout: Entering Saturday’s contest, Golden State not only led the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage as a team (45.5 percent), but was also tops in defending it (29.2 percent). That difference is a major factor in the Warriors’ early season success. Conversely, Utah came into the matchup dead-last in 3-point shooting (25.8 percent).
The Jazz decided to step things up behind the arc and actually shot better than their opponents. Utah nailed eight of 17 treys, many of which came during their big third-quarter push. Golden State, however, made big 3-pointers at crucial junctures, many of which simultaneously stamped out any Utah sparks while capping off major Warrior runs.
Surprisingly enough, despite its prolific perimeter marksmanship, Golden State won the battle inside, scoring 46 points in the paint to the Jazz’s 32.
Warrior starters: Golden State’s starting five is easily one of basketball’s very best, as evidenced by their collective effort against the Jazz. They accounted for 81 of the Warriors’ 102 points and connected on 32 of 59 shots. All the more impressive is that they did this despite point guard Stephen Curry having a very uncharacteristic 7 of 20 shooting night.
Klay Thompson was arguably the best player on the court Saturday. He nonchalantly hit 9 of 14 shots, including five back-breaking 3-pointers. His quick release negated Utah’s defensive rotations, which were a step slow.
This and that:
• After his impressive debut, Utah point guard Diante Garrett has come back to earth. Against Golden State, he looked like he was pressing and as a result, hit only one of six shots. His first three attempts failed to hit the rim.
• Alec Burks got the start but struggled with both his shooting and facilitating the offense. He played 20 of the possible 24 first-half minutes but then did not see the court until five minutes remained in the game. John Lucas III got the nod in the second half.
• Golden State center and longtime veteran Jermaine O’Neal crumpled down in the fourth quarter, apparently suffering both a right knee strain and groin strain.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company