The Warriors raised their record to 27-1 on Wednesday night with a 103-85 victory over the Utah, setting up a doozy of a Christmas day game with the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena. Perhaps what was most impressive about the Warriors’ win over the Jazz was that it wasn’t very impressive.
And they still won by 18 points against what looks to be a playoff team in the Western Conference.
In a season of thrilling wins and spectacular plays, you could probably count on one hand the number of times the sellout crowd “ooh-ed and aah-ed.” In other words, the wow factor was missing a little bit.
Stephen Curry had a season-low 16 points and went just 2-for-8 from 3-point range. Klay Thompson was just OK, finishing with 20 points but going 6-for-16 to do it. As a team the Warriors shot 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from the 3-point line. Those are nice numbers but we’ve seen better this year, no doubt.
As exciting as the Warriors have been this season, they don’t have to be pretty to win games. Oh, they can put on a show, for sure, but they don’t have to put on a show. The basic truth has come down to this with Golden State: The Warriors can beat you in a high-scoring game, a low-scoring game or a game in the middle.
The Utah Jazz are a good defensive team, but offense is a struggle for them. And to beat the Warriors, you’ve got to be good in both areas. Good defensive teams like Utah can’t score enough to beat the Warriors. And good offensive teams can’t defend well enough to beat the Warriors.
At least that’s the way it’s been so far. We’ll see as the season rolls along if the elite teams — San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Cleveland — are any different.
The Warriors might not have been operating at peak efficiency on Wednesday, but that’s why they’re more than just a team of shooters. Their defense was excellent again, holding the Jazz to 41 percent from the field. Gordon Hayward, Utah’s best player, suffered through a horrible 2-for-15 shooting night.
It wasn’t one Warrior who shut down Hayward, it proved to be a team effort. It’s no secret Utah’s starting backcourt — Raul Neto and Rodney Hood — is the soft spot of its team. That made it easy for the Warriors to pay more attention to Hayward and Derrick Favors.
The Warriors led the Jazz 47-38 at halftime last night. That was the lowest-scoring first of the season of a Warriors game. That should have been a good sign for the Jazz, but there they were still nine points down at the break. And the Warriors would remain in control all night.
If you stack up all the Warriors’ wins this season, the victory over Utah on Wednesday would wind up near the bottom on the excitement scale. But that’s why this team is so scary — because it can ho-hum to an 18-point win against a pretty good team without doing anything very special.
It’s tough for the Jazz to overcome their lack of a backcourt against the Warriors. Raul Neto, Trey Burke, Rodney Hood. That’s not going to do it when you’re going up against Curry and Thompson.
Especially when you’re without Rudy Gobert. …
The Warriors’ bugaboo tonight was the second quarter. Luke Walton went with a lineup of non-scorers and Utah got back into it. Shawn Livingston, Iguodala, Robert McAdoo, Ezeli and Barbosa.
Bogut was lively tonight – which figures. He went to college in Utah.
When the Warriors came off their seven-game road trip they talked about getting back to work and getting better. They seem to have done that. Their defense looks pretty good.
YOU WANT PROOF THAT EVERYONE GETS CREDIT WHEN YOU WIN … IT WAS SHAWN LIVINGSTON BOBBLE-HEAD NIGHT.