The Golden State Warriors (13-12) visited the Utah Jazz (14-12) on Wednesday. Golden State wanted to right its wrongs from a home loss to the Pacers on Monday. Utah wanted to rebound from a home loss to the Trail Blazers on Saturday.
Poole led the Warriors with 36 points on 10-for-23 shooting with eight assists against six turnovers. Kuminga poured in 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, along with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 22 points on 9-for-20 shooting with nine assists. Rookie Simone Fontecchio scored 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting off the bench.
Here are three observations from the Warriors’ loss.
Despite an overall inefficient night shooting and sloppiness taking care of the rock, Clarkson kept Golden State afloat in the first half. The Warriors held a three-point leading going into the break, Clarkson led the way with 21 points and five assists in 19 minutes.
He shot 3-for-3 on twos, and 2-for-6 on 3s. Paying respect to his true shooting percentage, Clarkson played to contact quite well. He got to the line for nine free throws in the first half, hunting the rim when he reasonably could and attacking bodies instead of floating away from the physical impact.
The Jazz hit the deep notes in the third quarter
Utah not only took the lead, but also extended control of the game after halftime. The punch came from beyond the arc. The Jazz shot 7-for-13 from 3 in the frame. Even when Golden State put together decent defensive possessions, forcing extra passes and making the Jazz put the ball on the deck to create looks, Utah was one step ahead, slinging the rock from the strong side to the weak side to tap into a variety of sources for offensive contributions.
I thought the real pain point was that the Jazz’s 3-point success goaded the Warriors to jack up 3s in an effort to keep pace. But, they didn’t have the touch on their end. Rather than try to work possessions for organic, high-quality shots, the Warriors tried to force something that wasn’t there. Two points is better than zero points, and the Warriors weren’t particularly interested in entertaining that math in the third frame.
Golden State executed like the 2-11 road team it is
Let’s go through the play-by-play.
Clarkson misses a jumper, commits Flagrant 2 foul on Kuminga.
Kuminga makes one of two free throws, giving Golden State a three-point lead with 24.9 seconds to play.
Kelly Olynyk steals the ball from Thompson, who comes down and blocks a 3 from Fontecchio. Intentional foul sends Poole to the line for a pair of free throws.
Poole makes one of two; Golden State leads by four with 13.3 seconds to go.
Malik Beasley hits a 3 to cut Golden State’s lead to one with 7.8 seconds to go.
Poole loses the ball on the inbound pass, paving the way for a Jazz 2-on-1 in transition that leads to a dunk from Fontecchio with 1.4 seconds to play. Warriors have no timeouts.
Three-quarters-court pass deflected. Game over.
That’s about as bad as you can execute down the stretch. It’s truly baffling that a team with Golden State’s experience and championship equity could let that one slip in a fashion identifying with a team whose eyes are on the draft lottery rather than the playoffs.
But then again, that’s what a 2-11 road team does. And that’s what the Warriors are.
The Warriors (13-13) will host the Boston Celtics (21-5) on Saturday. The tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the action on ABC.