If there was any question whether or not the Golden State Warriors were focused on the playoffs, Tuesday’s performance confirmed they were ready for the postseason.
Their 82nd and final regular season game was one to forget, a contest in which it looked like they were going through the motions as they fell to the Utah Jazz, 119-79. While the Jazz were still in the confusing and crowded race for playoff positioning, the Warriors had been comfortably locked into the second seed for weeks, and they looked like a team that had already sealed its playoff fate.
The Warriors never led outside of the first two minutes, trailed by 29 at halftime and by as much as 45 in the second half in their most lopsided defeat of the season. Klay Thompson scored a game-high 23 points for Golden State (58-24), but attempted 27 shots from the field, shooting an unsightly 9-for-27.
The only other Warriors in double-figures were Kevin Durant, who scored 13 points, and Kevon Looney, who put up 12 off the bench on 6-for-9 shooting. They attempted an oddly low 19 3-pointers as a team and made just five, but when they went in the paint, it rarely yielded better results. The visitors shot 34.9 percent for the game, which fit hand-in-hand with Thompson’s performance. Looney was the only one to hit more than half of his shots from the floor. A 14-for-16 performance from the free throw line was the team’s lone encouraging statistic.
Utah (48-33) got 22 points from Donovan Mitchell, who made headlines before the game as he entered the arena with a sweatshirt depicting the dictionary definition of the word “rookie”, a jab at Ben Simmons’ eligibility for the Rookie of the Year Award. Mitchell certainly backed up his claims with his play, shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Joe Ingles scored just four points but collected eight assists for the Jazz.
Ingles was the only starter to not finish in double-figures in head coach Quin Snyder’s lineup. Derrick Favors had 16 on 7-of-9 shooting and came up one rebound shy of a double-double. Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio each had 13, and Utah had a solid night from the bench as well, with 51 points coming from reserves. Jonas Jerebko scored 14 and Jae Crowder added 11 despite going 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Though Crowder had an off-night shooting, the Jazz were still +25 with him on the floor.
The hosts had an overwhelming 54-39 advantage on the boards, even though no individual had more rebounds than Favors’ nine. Zaza Pachulia was Golden State’s lead rebounder with six.
The loss gives Golden State matching home and away records at 29-12. Wednesday’s results will determine the Warriors’ first-round opponent.
Utah has one game left, but the Jazz have guaranteed themselves no worse than the fifth seed in the Western Conference. A loss could have dropped them to sixth or seventh.Golden State closes regular season with lopsided defeat NBA