After a 5 day break for the All-Star game, the Utah Jazz get back to business against the team ahead of them in the Western Conference standings. The 30-24 Utah Jazz host the 30-22 Golden State Warriors Tuesday night (7:00 pm Mountain, Comcast-Bay, FSN-Utah). The Warriors are a game ahead of the Jazz for the #6 spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Warriors lost 5 straight games before the All-Star break, including 116-107 last Tuesday at home against the Houston Rockets. Golden State gave up at least 116 points in four of those five games. Utah won 2 straight before the break, including 97-93 at the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night.
Golden State won the first meeting between the teams December 26 94-83. It was a rare win in Salt Lake City for the Warriors. Utah is 49-11 at home against the Warriors since 1987, including playoffs. The two teams will play one more time this season in Oakland April 7.
Although the Jazz have won 13 of their last 14 home games, focus shifted away from preparations for this game as Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe was arrested for income tax evasion Monday afternoon. When Lowe was the head basketball coach at North Carolina State University, he allegedly didn’t pay taxes from 2009-11. He missed Monday’s practice but is expected to coach tonight, according to Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin.
Golden State is coached by Mark Jackson. The Warriors are being outscored 101.2-101 this season. The Warriors are #8 in scoring and #24 in points allowed. Golden State is shooting 45.6% from the field and 39.3% from 3 point range. The Warriors are #10 in field goal percentage and #1 in three point shooting. The Warriors are second in free throw shooting at 79.8%. Golden St averages 44.7 rebounds per game and gives up 43 per game. Golden State is #3 in rebounding. Warrior opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. Despite giving up so many points especially recently, Golden St is in the top 10 in the league in opponent’s field goal percentage and in three point defense. The Warriors average 22.9 assists, 6.8 steals, 4 blocks, and 15.2 turnovers per game.
Point guard Stephen Curry averages 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Forward David Lee averages 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. Guard Klay Thompson averages 16.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Guard Jarrett Jack averages 13 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.2 assists per game. Forward Carl Landry averages 11.5 points, and 6.5 rebounds. Harrsion Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli make up the rest of the rotation.
Utah is being outscored 98.6-98.3 this season. The Jazz are #11 in scoring and #18 in points allowed. The Jazz are shooting 45.2% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. UTah is #13 in the former and #10 in the latter. Utah is #11 in free throw shooting at 76.6%. The Jazz average 42 rebounds per game and give up 41.2 per game. Utah opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. The Jazz are 20th or worse in both categories. Utah averages 22.8 assists, 8.4 steals, 6.4 blocks, and 14.9 turnovers.
Center Al Jefferson averages 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward Paul Millsap averages 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Gordon Hayward has missed the last 10 games with a shoulder injury. He is listed as questionable tonight. He averages 13.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Guard Mo Williams averages 12.9 points and 6.7 assists per game. He is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.Guard Randy Foye averages 11.8 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 rebounds per game. Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Jamaal Tinsley, and Earl Watson also get time in the rotation.
It isn’t easy to see why Golden State has lost 5 straight. If you give up 118 points per game on defense, you won’t win many NBA games. They need to fix their atrocious defense and quickly or they might not make the playoffs. The Jazz are banged up with injuries to Hayward and Williams. However, theya re tough at home. I like the Jazz to win a high scoring affair.