The Warriors are hoping to emerge from the long All-Star break as a different team. Golden State will be attempting to snap a five-game losing streak when they visit the Utah Jazz today.
Golden State was one of the best stories of the first half as it ascended to the top half of the West and knocked off several contenders along the way. But the road has not been very kind recently and the Warriors have lost their last six games to teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
The defense has been the main culprit — Golden State is giving up 118 points per game in its five-game losing streak — but the offense has also not had a chance to gel with center Andrew Bogut back in the lineup and players like guards Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack sitting out several games before the break.
The constant has been All-Star forward David Lee, though even the NBA’s double-double leader found himself in a slump with 22 total points on 7-of-19 shooting in the two games prior to the break.
Rookie center Festus Ezeli, who was starting in Bogut’s absence, has been pushed to the end of the bench as Bogut gets his legs back under him. The former No. 1 overall pick was not playing the second night of back-to-back games prior to the break, but the team is expected to loosen the reins down the stretch.
The Jazz are one of the teams chasing the Warriors in the West and have won two straight. Utah is one game behind the Warriors, who are currently holding down the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference.