I think we’re at a point now where we’ve found the chemistry we were looking for throughout the season. —Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors
SALT LAKE CITY — At Vivint Arena Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors shared the stage with the Utah Jazz, and boy did the home team put on a show.
Just the day before, Warriors star Steph Curry took a subtle jab at Salt Lake City by sharing a Instagram photo with teammates at The Escape Key using the hashtag #nightlife.
The defending champions were certainly a part of the evening festivities in Utah, but not to their liking, as the Jazz handed the Warriors their biggest loss of the season, 129-99.
“That was a pathetic effort out there,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “That was disgusting basketball.”
Utah even broke out their gradient, red rock-inspired Nike City Edition court and uniforms in the process to showcase a nontraditional theme.
Jazz forward Derrick Favors called it the best win of the season as the team rides a three-game winning streak.
“Of course, it was a good game against a tough team, so it was the win of the season for us,” said Favors, who ended with 18 points and 10 rebounds, only missing two shots. “I think we’re at a point now where we’ve found the chemistry we were looking for throughout the season.”
From the opening tip, the Jazz came out on fire.
A plethora of Warriors fans were clustered throughout the arena, but it didn’t matter as Utah led by as many as 30 points.
Ricky Rubio led the way with 23 points, 11 assists and five rebounds while holding Curry to 14 points on 4-for-13 shooting. The Jazz shot a season-high 58.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Rubio and Donovan Mitchell received a standing ovation while walking off the court with 2:08 remaining in the fourth. Mitchell would also end with 20 points, four assists and three steals.
The Warriors won seven of their last eight games heading into Utah, including a marquee 109-105 victory versus Boston on Saturday with Curry exploding for 49 points against Kyrie Irving.
Golden State, the league’s top-shooting 3-point team, connected on just 20 percent of their treys which was well below the 39.3 percent average. Utah’s aggressive defense was able to force 20 turnovers, which resulted in 18 points. Klay Thompson posted 27 points to lead the Warriors, with JaVale McGee adding a season-high 14 points off the bench. Kevin Durant went 0-for-5 from three to end with 17 points.
“When you’re playing from behind, we’ve had success doing that, but I think the damage had been done in the first quarter, giving them all the looks they wanted,” said Curry. “The issue tonight was defense, so that’s obviously on us. A tough letdown game from how we played last game against Boston, but we’ve got to be able to bounce back.”
The presence of Jazz center Rudy Gobert in the paint definitely played a part as the team has had the best defense since his return from a second knee injury with a 103.4 defensive rating, per StatMuse.
“It just shows our confidence. We’re competitive,” said Gobert, who posted nine points and six boards. “We’ve got guys who want to win. We’ve been working hard since training camp.”
Joe Ingles set the tone offensively, starting 5-for-5 from three to give the Jazz a 69-56 lead at halftime. He would end with a career-high six 3-pointers for 20 points but was more impressed with the overall execution of the team. He was able to run the floor and capitalize on shots off good looks from his teammates.
How’s that for the nightlife in Utah?
“It’s nice to see it go in a few times, and it felt good,” Ingles said.
Utah (22-28) will now look to win its fourth straight game in Phoenix on Friday.