Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) gets up over Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) for a two point attempt at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Sat Apr 2, 2022 (AP News photo)
Warriors Battle Past Jazz 111-107
By Barbara Mason
As the Golden State Warriors (49-29) head into the final games of the season there is a lot still up in the air for the Warriors. The team will be without Stephen Curry for the remainder of the regular season (four more games left).
It’s not what the team wanted to hear but Curry is still aiming for getting healthy going into the playoffs although he did admit that this was not the ideal way for any team to end a season.
Head Coach Steve Kerr recognizes that the most important thing right now is having Curry healthy for the start of the playoffs regardless of where Golden State finishes in the standings. Still a lot is still to be determined when it comes to matchups and it will no doubt change before season’s end. Curry will be re-evaluated at the end of the regular season.
Tonight the Warriors took on the fifth place Utah Jazz (46-32). This game is huge for both teams. The Jazz currently stand in fifth place in the Western Conference and Golden State is in third place with the Mavericks nipping at their heels in fourth place a half game behind the Warriors.
The Warriors will need a fast paced game. They will need to be patient and be aggressive and above all protect the ball. Turnovers killed the team last Wednesday against the Suns with 21. This has to turn around. The Golden State defense is coming around but the offense has a ways to go.
The Jazz took an early lead after the opening quarter 30-23. The Warriors offense continued to struggle going four of 13 from outside. Utah had the momentum through the first quarter and in the early minutes of the second quarter. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell had 11 points in the first quarter and Klay Thompson had seven points but started to heat up in the start of the second quarter.
Four Minutes into the second quarter the Jazz were totally dominating the game leading 47-28. The Jazz had a monster advantage and it would be an uphill climb for Golden State. The Warriors needed stops but also some far better offense.
Golden State started getting stops but also struggled with empty possessions and turnovers. With two minutes left in the half the Warriors had cut a 21 point Jazz lead to 13 and they did this in two minutes.
The game was turning around offensively in favor of the Warriors. The effort and energy of Golden State was improved in the late second quarter and they would need more of that in the second half. The Warriors also had 11 first half turnovers and they cannot continue on this path. Utah had a 58-45 half time lead.
At 3:50 left in the third quarter the Warriors got within single digits of the Jazz.79-70. After three quarters the Warriors had cut the Jazz lead to six.
As the fourth quarter wore on it became apparent that the Warriors just could not keep pace with Utah or could they? Everything turned around with 5:37 left in the game and it appeared that yes they could keep up with the Jazz.
Three straight stops and three shots from downtown made all the difference in this game. The Jazz lead had shrunk to four 103-99. The Warriors had a ball game. With 3:31 left in the game the Warriors had their first lead of the game 105-103. Golden State had a 18-0 run and 20 from downtown in this game.
It came down to a one point game and under two minutes left on the clock. The Warriors needed to close this game out. Chase Center was on their feet in this playoff like atmosphere. With 7.8 left in the game the Warriors led 109-106 and Draymond Green was at the free throw line. Golden State finished this game 111-107. The 30th win at Chase was one to remember.
“I am incredibly proud of him,” said Thompson of Poole who finished with 31 points. Thompson himself had 36 points in this crazy game. “I could feel that I was going to have a big night in the weight room. Not in the first half, not my best half but I kept shooting. What a way to snap out of this streak we had,” Thompson said in regards to their four game losing streak. “I am just incredibly proud of everyone who played tonight. It took a lot of grit and mental fortitude,” he said.
Sunday night the Warriors travel to Sacramento to take on the Kings in a game that they not only need to win but should win. Thompson eluded to the fact that they should beat the Kings. The Warriors expended a lot of energy in this Jazz game but they will be riding in on an incredible high after tonight’s win. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM.