The calendar hasn’t even flipped to November yet and we may already have a candidate for game of the year in the NBA.
OK, maybe that’s going a little far, but the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz put on an absolute thriller on Friday night in a game that felt more like a playoff slugfest than the second game of the regular season.
The Warriors capped their furious rally with a tip-in from Jonas Jerebko, of all people, in the final second to win 124-123 and erase a 16-point deficit.
Jerebko’s putback came on a miss from Kevin Durant, who played a big part in helping the two-time defending champs rally back with his 38 points on a lethal 14-of-25 shooting line.
Steph Curry added 31 points of his own and made some key 3-pointers down the stretch, but it was perhaps the least likely Warrior who came up with the biggest play of the night. As Durant’s tough 15-footer came off the iron, Jerebko fought off two Utah defenders and got just enough of the ball to flick it in for the winning shot with 0.3 seconds left.
It sent a raucous home crowd in Salt Lake City home disappointed, especially after they watched their Jazz team build a double-digit lead in the second half thanks to the hot shooting of Joe Ingles (27 points on 7-of-11 threes). But the shots went cold down the stretch.
Jerebko, a 2009 2nd-round draft pick who’s never averaged more than 9 points per game, was essentially signed off the street by Golden State in July. He’s now apparently another in the endless list of valuable Warriors bench players.
It’s good to be the champions.