OAKLAND — In the lead-up to Tuesday night’s Game 1 between the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors, Golden State players talked about how hard it was to guard the Jazz because of how balanced they were with so many weapons.
“There are teams in this league when you say, ‘If you stop this guy, you win the game,’” said Draymond Green. “They’re not one of those teams.”
“They definitely do it by committee,” added Steph Curry. “Everybody touches it and everybody’s a threat. You can’t sleep on anybody.”
The problem Tuesday night was that the Jazz needed at least one player to step up, but it didn’t happen, and the result was a predictable 106-94 loss at Oracle Arena. The Jazz didn’t have a player score more than 13 points, while the Warriors had four players score 15 or more.
The shots that were falling Sunday afternoon in L.A. — when the Jazz shot 50.6 percent from the field and 46.3 from 3-point range — were bouncing off the back of the iron this time around. The Jazz ended up shooting a decent 46.3 percent after a slow start, but they were a cool 31.0 percent from 3-point range.
Gordon Hayward, who played so well in the series against the Clippers (23.7 ppg), but has struggled throughout his career against the Warriors (12.6 ppg on 38.6 percent shooting), had another tough outing, scoring 12 points on just 4 of 15 shooting and 2 of 9 from 3-point range.
In his only appearance this year against the Warriors, Hayward was just 2 of 10 from the field, 0 for 6 from 3-point range, for 6 points in a 104-74 loss in December. That was his lowest scoring game of the year as well as Utah’s largest loss of the season. Hayward missed the December 8 game in Salt Lake when he re-aggravated his finger injury, then sat out the regular-season win in April in Oakland for rest purposes. Last year, Hayward had two of his poorest shooting nights of the season at Oracle Arena, going 2 for 15 and 5 for 15 in two games here.
Rudy Gobert led the Jazz scoring with 13 points, while Rodney Hood had 12 off the bench along with Hayward.
Over the first three minutes of the game, the Jazz showed their balance, in a negative way, as each of the five starters missed a shot and the Jazz fell behind 7-0. By halftime, just two players, Gobert and Hayward, had made it to double figures with 10 apiece.
The Jazz showed some life early in the third quarter when Hill, Johnson and Ingles each hit baskets, the latter two from 3-point range, bringing the Jazz within seven at 61-54 and causing Mike Brown to call a quick timeout. But then the Jazz missed three straight 3-pointers as the Warriors pushed the lead to double digits again.
Utah kept the game close to 10 points and trailed just 82-73 going into the fourth quarter before the Warriors went on a 12-0 run to start the quarter and put the game out of reach.
Even putting first-round hero Joe Johnson into the starting lineup for first time since March 20, didn’t help the Jazz as Iso Joe only scored 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Derrick Favors, who had played brilliantly on Sunday in relief of a foul-plagued Gobert, was questionable right up until tipoff, but he ended up playing 12 minutes and scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds.