SALT LAKE CITY — Ahead of the Utah Jazz’s home opener Friday against the Golden State Warriors, Coach Steve Kerr joked with the media during shootaround.
“Hopefully we cut it to 20 (points) this year,” Kerr responded when asked about the previous three-game losing streak to Utah which included losses of 30 and 40 points to the Jazz in Salt Lake City.
“This year is a totally different year,” he added. “Last year is last year. It’s a really good challenge.”
The Jazz entered the game as the only team to post a winning record against the defending champions in the last two seasons, by an average margin of nearly 30 points per game, but came up short this time around after a game-winning tip-in by former Jazzman Jonas Jerebko with 0.3 seconds remaining off a Kevin Durant miss.
Jerebko was waived by the Jazz during the offseason before signing with the Warriors and returned to finish with 10 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Warriors charged back with a strong fourth quarter effort to beat the Jazz 124-123 in front of a nationally televised ESPN audience.
A record-breaking second quarter performance from the Jazz shifted the momentum momentarily after Utah opened the game 3-for-11 and didn’t seem to be in sync before settling down and finding a groove.
The Jazz entered halftime with an 81-69 edge, went up 103-97 after a double clutch half court three at the buzzer from Joe Ingles to end the third but got outscored 27-20 in the final 12 minutes.
Utah’s 81 points in the first half broke the franchise record of 80 points set in December of 1989 against the Warriors. The Jazz also tied an all-time Warriors opponent record for points in a second quarter with 47 and nailed 10 treys, which were the most threes in any quarter in franchise history and one shy of the NBA record, but still fell to 1-1 on the young season after the Warriors’ strong finish.
“This is one of the best defensive teams in the league and they’ve got a lot better offensively,” Kerr said. “They put you through a lot of motion, a lot of actions, they’ve got a lot of weapons, they come in with a really deep bench and Mitchell gives them something they haven’t had with playmaking.”
Ingles tied a career-high with 27 points and matched his personal-best record of seven threes made in a game. Donovan Mitchell finished with 19 points, three assists and two rebounds on 7-for-23 shooting and missed the final shot at the buzzer.21 comments on this story
Jae Crowder was solid off the oak with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, but Durant went off for a game-high 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Steph Curry also added 31 points, eight assists and four rebounds. The Warriors shot 52.6 percent from beyond the arc while outscoring Utah 46-36 off points in the paint. However, Utah’s bench was big with 43 points to Golden State’s 25.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert finished with 16 points and 11 boards while Dante Exum added 13 points.
The Jazz will return home to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.