The Warriors failed to punch their ticket to the postseason on Sunday night, falling to the Jazz, 97-90.
Despite having three players score 20-plus points and keeping pace with the Jazz’ bigs in the paint (42 points in the paint for both the Jazz and Warriors), they couldn’t overcome the Jazz, who are tightly holding on to their postseason lives.
Stephen Curry caught fire in the first quarter. He compiled 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting and 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point land. But, the Warriors only led by three points despite his hot start (27-24).
The thing is, it was Curry and no one else. Jarrett Jack added five points off the bench, but all other Warriors’ scorers were held to two points. Klay Thompson made a few lazy mental errors and the Jazz, with their huge size advantage, made it tough for the Warriors to get second chance points, which would be expected.
Thanks in part to a collective first quarter effort, the Jazz stayed close. Al Jefferson was Utah’s focal point, scoring eight points. He easily floated a slew of hook shots over Andrew Bogut, who seemed a step slow on Jefferson, the superior offensive player.
Mo Williams collected six points and Gordon Hayward dished out four assists.
Utah struggled to get easy points. They had no fast break points and zero points off turnovers. The Warriors, meanwhile, scored six points off turnovers and just two points off turnovers.
Utah’s size and 3-point shooting gave them a eight-point lead heading into the half. Derrick Favors had 10 points and four rebounds (two offensive) and Paul Millsap didn’t score, but he was a huge factor on the boards, ripping down four rebounds.
The Jazz also limited Curry’s production. He shot just 2-of-6 for five points.
The Warriors’ bigs also chipped in; Carl Landry had six points and five rebounds and David Lee had five points.
But back to the underlying theme: Jazz points in the paint-16 versus the Warriors point in the paint-four. That, a 21-7 run and Mo Williams’ 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting propelled them into halftime on a good note.
Additionally, Utah’s interior game lead to 12 points off 3-pointers, creating a nice inside-outside combination.
The Warriors and Jazz played a fairly even game in the third quarter. The Jazz had four second chance points to the Warriors four, but on the flip side, the Warriors had six more fast break points and four more points in the paint to erase that differential.
Thompson dazzled, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Lee had five points and Bogut corralled in five rebounds.
The Jazz continued to pound the ball to Jefferson in the quarter, and he answered with nine points. He would finish the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The fourth quarter belonged to Williams, who finished with a game-high 25 points. He hit a clutch 3-pointer with under a minute left, sealing Utah’s win, and perhaps, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The Jazz expanded their lead to 11 points at one point, but the Warriors battled back, but failed to complete their comeback.