by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by John Hefti of AP Photo.
Golden Gate for Golden State
Utah’s first quarter should be seen as a forgettable one. They tried to copy Golden State’s three-point shooting without a positive result. Utah shot 2/15 (13.3%) from beyond the perimeter and 9/25 (36%) from the field. Golden State was able to make shots at will, especially Stephen Curry (33/5/4) who finished the quarter with 15 points on 6/10 (60%) shooting from the field. The lack of transition defense became very apparent for Utah as turnovers began to pile up with six. Talen Horton-Tucker (3 rebounds) didn’t help his case in the quarter as he went 0/4 (0%) from three and 0/5 (0%) from the field. Utah had no answers for Golden State finishing the quarter trailing 37-23.
The second quarter still resulted in bad shooting from the perimeter from Utah. Shooting 4/26 (15.4%) from beyond in the half, Utah managed to limit Golden State’s shooting to 9/21 (42.9%) from the field for the quarter. Though their shooting efficiency was up from the previous quarter, Utah’s defense was the first to show. Walker Kessler (8 points, 4 rebounds) racked up three blocks within a three-minute timeframe spanning between the first and second quarters. Kessler is currently first amongst rookies and tied for ninth in the league for blocks per game (1.6). Even after committing 11 turnovers in the half, Utah managed to put up a fight behind Lauri Markkanen (24/6/1) who scored 12 points. With his help, Utah cut the deficit down to 59-51 going into the half.
The third quarter consisted of either great offense or bad defense. Both teams shot over 50% for the quarter while Utah put their bad shooting performance behind them. Utah made more three in the third quarter (5/11, 45.5%) than they did the entire first half. Even with improved shooting, Utah allowed to keep Golden State in the game with second-chance points. To this point, both teams had 10 offensive rebounds but Golden State outscored Utah 22-11 on their second-chance opportunities. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (8/5/6) provided some much-needed ball movement when Jordan Clarkson (21/4/10) was off the floor. Though Utah was able to score a game-high 35 points and Kelly Olynyk‘s (21/4/1) 14 points in the quarter, Golden State still outscored them and held on to the lead 97-86.
In the fourth quarter, Golden State used their 8-1 home record to their advantage and never looked back. Even when they would allow Utah to go on short runs, Golden State would respond with their own run. Utah even brought more on-ball defense in the fourth, yet Golden State managed to find the open man a drain a good portion of their shots. Utah decided to live and die by the three-point shot, shooting 2/9 (22.2%) in the final quarter. Nearly mimicking their perimeter shooting from the first half. Utah tied Golden State for the quarter 32-32 leading to Utah’s third straight loss 129-118.
The Utah Jazz (12-9) looks to end their three-game losing streak against the Phoenix Suns (12-6) on the second night of a road back-to-back. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM MST on AT&T SportsNet.