The Utah Jazz are on the road tonight, rolling into Chase Center carrying brooms, looking to sweep their season series 4-0 against the limping Golden State Warriors.
Will the rehabilitating Dubs defend their home court and knock off Utah for the first time this year?
WHO: Golden State Warriors (10-35) vs Utah Jazz (30-13)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, 2020; 7:00 pm PST
WATCH: NBCSBA, ATRM
Stephen Curry (hand) out
Klay Thompson (knee) out
Kevon Looney (abdominal) out
Jacob Evans (concussion) questionable
Glenn Robinson III (ankle) probable
Season Series: Jazz lead 3-0
Utah is a formidable squad, led by explosive combo guard Donovan Mitchell and giant rim-protection from reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. They are currently tied for the third seed with the Denver Nuggets in the West, and have won of 9 of their last 10 games.
I’m sure they’ve already seduced plenty of basketball observers into awed whispers of their “dark horse” potential… AGAIN.
Definition of “dark horse”: a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.Oxford Dictionary
Definition of “dark horse”: a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.
Vice coined this expectation in 2017: “The Utah Jazz Are Dark Horse Contenders”.
And the Washington Post echoed it in the 2018 playoffs: “The Utah Jazz have emerged as a dark horse in the conference.”
And Fansided mulled it before the 2019 season: “How can the Utah Jazz capitalize on being dark horse darlings?”
And yet, the Jazz haven’t advanced past the second round since 2007, suffering gentleman’s sweeps in their last two playoff trips. Will the addition of battle-hardened point guard Mike Conley be enough to propel them to the next level? Or shall they continue to be regular season wonders who are outclassed when the basketball matters most?
At any rate, they’re going to be a serious problem for the Warriors tonight.
The Dubs are at the bottom of the league, losers of 9 of their last 10, fresh off a difficult overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Utah is normally a handful for the full strength Warriors; tonight the Jazz could very easily put a beatdown on this depleted club.
The Jazz drafted Burks 12th overall in 2011, one spot after the Warriors snagged Washington State Cougars legend Klay Thompson. After eight years with Utah, Burks briefly bounced around the NBA before landing on the Dubs, where he’s been a thorn in his old team’s side.
In three games against Utah this season (two as a starter), Burks is averaging 18 points on 48% shooting from the field. There are only two other teams he shoots a better FG% against: Charlotte (61%) and Boston (51%). Burks is also shooting a red-hot 46% from downtown against Utah this year.
The recently released-but-then-resigned center prospect put up arguably his best game as a Dub in a December loss to Utah. That night he tallied team highs in rebounds (13) and assists (5), while chipping in 12 points and 2 blocks.
Last time these teams met, the Jazz unleashed a hellacious three-point barrage on Golden State’s tattered defense, connecting on 16-of-38 from deep. Bojan Bogdanovic led the aerial assault with a career-high eight triples; here’s a highlight from his night:
Oops, I meant this one:
Utah is shooting 38% from three-point range on the season. That figure bumps up to 43% in their three wins over Golden State. The Warriors better be airtight on their rotations tonight, or they will likely get bombed on again.
I just want to say...I love you guys.
Enjoying the look of the page - nice work!
'ello, guvnah! LGW!!
Gosh, the way these comment threads are sorted (by likes? most recent reply? I'm not sure) is going to make it pretty hard to follow the chronological sequence of comments in a game thread...
Things I'll be looking for in tonight's game:
- Can D'Lo have an efficient bounce-back shooting game? 9/27 against the Blazers is not really winning basketball, but he should have the skills to be better. He has these flashes of being amazing, and on those occasions where he gets crazy hot he's welcome to take any crazy shots he wants. But most of the time, I'm looking for shot selection and efficiency. That goes double in crunch time, if we're so lucky as to have any.
- Who's getting lost on switches on defense, or helping unwisely? I've seen D'Lo and Spellman jump at the guy with the ball while leaving a good shooter one pass away wide open, or get caught ball-watching while their man is open for a corner 3. DON'T LEAVE INGLES OPEN ON THE PERIMETER. Bogdonavich either. I'd rather see someone get beat 1-on-1 at the top of the key than see an attempted double lead to a wide-open three.
- Who can make layups? In particular, I've seen a ton of old-school "klayups" from Willie Cauley-Stein this season, and Marquise Chriss in particular (but others as well) has sometimes seemed to get too singleminded about trying over and over to tip in an offensive rebound in traffic (and failing) instead of backing the ball out for a better shot.
- If Draymond plays, is he making bad passes to people who aren't where he expects them to be?
- How's Paschall's aggressiveness? When he doesn't have the ball in his hands, is he cutting or fighting for good post position? How will he handle the difficult job of getting shots in the paint vs. the Stifle Tower?
- How slick do our men on the bench look? The Splash Bros and Kevon Looney have not disappointed so far.
I also agree we should go for the win if at all possible. The culture and habits that lead to wins are more important than having a lottery pick IMO. I thought we might be able to pick one up against Portland the other night, but damn, Dame Time was too powerful. Still, with competitive games against Milwaukee and Denver in the past week or so, not to mention the W vs. the Magic, it feels like it's within reach. We just need to avoid "that one quarter where the entire team forgets how to put the ball in the basket" (either the 1st or 3rd quarter almost every game this year) and then we need to play well on both ends in crunch time.
I've seen plenty of reasons to believe they can do it—the D in particular has had stretches of being absolutely oppressive, including in crunch time—but it's anyone's guess whether they can line everything up just right and also hope the other team doesn't have one of "those" nights where someone just lights it up like a human torch. We've seen enough of those games from both sides in the past few years that I know never to count any NBA player out.
I I were a betting man, I'd bet against the Warriors on this one, but then again, I never bet, so maybe they have a chance. I don't expect a beatdown though, more likely a competitive loss.
Um, Let's Go Warriors!
Count me in the minority I'm really starting to loathe losing. I get that bad teams lose more than they win BUT games like the one against Portland really leaves me feeling angry (in sports relative terms). We've played Utah close. I just want a win tonight. I don't want to be supposedly 'rewarded' come June for another close loss.