Utah Jazz (1-9) @ Golden State Warriors (6-3)
Tip Off @ 8:30 p.m. MST
TV : Root Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
PG – Alec Burks
SG – Gordon Hayward
SF – Richard Jefferson
PF – Derrick Favors
C – Enes Kanter
Golden State Warriors
PG – Stephen Curry
SG – Klay Thompson
SF – Andre Iguodala
PF – David Lee
C – Andrew Bogut
The Utah Jazz are coming off a loss Friday night against the team with the best record in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz put together 3 very good quarters, but couldn’t put together a 4th quarter and the Spurs came back and won 91-82. Derrick Favors played one of his best games in a Jazz uniform, putting up 20 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 huge blocks. However, it wasn’t enough, as Tony Parker took over late in the 4th quarter to complete the Spurs rally.
Now, after the heartbreaking loss, the Jazz take on one of the quickest and best shooting teams in the league, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have one of the best, if not THE best, shooting backcourts in the NBA with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Combined, these 2 are putting up 40.7 points per game. Curry is also dishing out 8.5 assists per game, good for 5th in the NBA. The 2 are also combining to shoot 14.3 attempts from 3 point land, connecting on 6.8 of those attempts. Thompson is shooting 50% from 3. Curry is shooting 46% from 3.
The Warriors also have 2 All-Stars at their forward positions in Andre Iguodala and David Lee. Iguodala joins the Warriors after spending 1 season in Denver with the Nuggets. Iguodala seems to be enjoying his time in the bay area, averaging 14.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Iguodala is shooting the ball at stellar numbers. He is shooting 60% from the field and 50% from 3. Lee is putting up fantastic numbers as well. Lee is averaging 18.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 53% from the field.
The Jazz will enter tonight ranked higher than the Warriors in only one statistical category and that is rebounding. It’s not by much either. The Jazz bring down 43.1 rebounds per game, good enough for 16th in the league. The Warriors are ranked 3 spots behind them at 19th with 42.2 per game. The Warriors also enter tonight ranked 6th in scoring (105.2), 10th in points allowed (98.2), and 5th in assists (25.1). The Jazz are at dead last in scoring (30th, 88.8), 29th in assists (17.6), and 17th in points allowed (100.1).
Also noted, the Warriors played Thursday night and were off yesterday. The Jazz will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Key Matchup : Warriors 3 Point Shooting vs Jazz Defense
There are way too many matchups at every position to just pick one key one. The thing that I believe will be a huge factor tonight will be how the Jazz’s defense handles the 3 point shooting of the Warriors. The Jazz are tied for 2nd in the league in giving up the fewest 3 point attempts this season, giving up only 56 3′s through 10 games. Out of those 56 shots, the Jazz opponents have only connected on 17 of them for 30.4%. The Warriors are shooting 3′s like crazy this season, putting up 24.7 per game and connecting on 11.2 of those for 45.5%. The Warriors have put up 134 3′s so far this season, 78 more than what the Jazz have given up.
This is really how the Warriors try to get going. Between Curry, Thompson, and Iguodala, they try and get those 3′s to start falling, and once they do, it’s usually bad news for their opponents. The Jazz mindset will be to know where your shooters are at all times, because, especially for Thompson, you can’t give them any space or they will make you pay. Once they start hitting the 3′s and teams have to come out on them more, it opens up things down low for Lee and Bogut. The Warriors have different ways that they can beat you, but it’s the 3 point shooting that will bury you early if you don’t control them.
As a result of Alec Burks being inserted into the starting lineup at point guard, the one thing we knew would happen did happen. Once Burks left the bench unit, so did the scoring. The Jazz scored 82 points last night, only 11 came from the bench. The bench is really what is hurting the Jazz right now at the start of this season.
The Warriors bench is putting up 35.8 points per game, led by Harrison Barnes who is averaging 9.4 points per game. Barnes made the All-Rookie 1st team last season, but has seen his minutes decrease to start this season, due to the acquisition of Iguodala. However, Barnes has been seeing more minutes in his last 2 games.
To me, the bench play is not as key for the Warriors as it is for the Jazz. The Warriors bench could have an off night and the starters are most the time good enough to still win the game. For the Jazz, if the bench has an off night, they usually dig the starters a whole they can’t quite climb back out of. Somebody for the Jazz bench has to step up if the Jazz have any chance to win ball games.
In all these predictions, as a Jazz fan, sometimes they are hard to do. I understand that the Jazz will not win a lot of games and most likely end up with Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, which is great if you’re a Jazz fan. I just hate to see this team lose. If there was a way that the Jazz could get Parker or Wiggins AND win a lot of games, I’d be all for it, but that’s not the case.
I think tonight that the Jazz will have some tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back. Not only just that, but they played the best team in the Western Conference and played them tough. There could be a lot of energy used in that game that we might not get to see tonight. Also, I think the Warriors deadly 3 point shooting could really hurt the Jazz. We might get a good game out of Richard Jefferson, looking to outplay his former team, but this game is going to be really tough for the Jazz to win.
Curry and Thompson could go off tonight if they start getting some open looks. Curry, in particular, is great at creating his own shot and if he gets John Lucas III on him at any point in this game, forget about it. All signs really are pointing to a loss for the Jazz tonight.
Warriors 106, Jazz 87