The Golden State Warriors began their three-game road trip with one of the lousiest performances of the season — if not the Steve Kerr Era — falling 129-99 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
Before the beatdown at Vivint Smart Home Arena, this year’s Warriors hadn’t lost a game by 20 points — much less 30. On a night when the Warriors played disastrous defense, a remarkable streak came to an end, and a seldom-used reserve made the most of his minutes, here’s what you need to know …
The Warriors’ defense was awful and the Jazz couldn’t miss from distance in the first half. From the opening tip, Golden State was short on energy and effort on the defensive end. Nothing better epitomized the listless performance than Joe Ingles’ 5-for-5 start from beyond the arc. Ingles was not only connecting on everything early, but never seemed to have a Warrior anywhere near him as he fired up the triples.
As a group, the Jazz knocked down 9 of 17 long-range efforts, delivering a flawless impression of the Warriors. The guests meanwhile were ice cold, opening the night 1-for-8 on 3-pointers and concluding the half 3-for-13.
The defense malaise didn’t improve after the break. The Jazz were impressive in their consistency, pouring in 35 points, 34 points and 34 points, respectively, in the first three quarters. While the third quarter is characteristically the time when the Warriors shine, there was no such burst to be found against the Jazz. Omri Casspi encapsulated the third-quarter struggle best when he passed the ball directly to Utah — twice — in an eight-second stretch.
Klay Thompson was the only starter who showed up. After scoring in single digits in three of the past four games, Thompson got it going early. The All-Star guard was 8-for-12 from the field in the first half, while the rest of the squad hit on just 15 of 37 field-goal attempts.
Thompson closed the evening with a game-high 27 points, shooting 12-for-17 and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. The Splash Brother accounted for 60 percent of the team’s makes from downtown. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry — with one 3-pointer apiece — were the only other Warriors to make 3’s. Speaking of Curry’s rough night with his shot …
Curry’s crazy streak came to an end. The two-time MVP’s run of five consecutive games with at least five 3-pointers reached its conclusion as Curry was 1-for-7. Had Curry sank five 3s again, he would have tied the NBA record for the longest such streak.
The run is now over, but it’s worth a tip of the cap as Curry made a ridiculous 32 triples — while shooting 50 percent of 3s — during that stretch.
For a guy who’d played 11 minutes in the past 10 games, JaVale McGee had an excellent night. With Jordan Bell (left ankle inflammation) and Kevon Looney (flu-like symptoms) out, McGee got some rare run and didn’t disappoint.
Amid the lethargy of the rest of the squad, McGee was flying around catching lobs, blocking shots and throwing down dunks. The veteran big man gave his trade value a nice bump, finishing with 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks — all while going 7-for-8 from the field — in 16 minutes.