Stephen Curry was just 1-of-4 from three, while Andre Iguodala was 0-of-6, and the Warriors as a team shot just 7-of-29, or 24.1 percent, from beyond the arc. The Warriors biggest weapon was misfiring Tuesday night.
So Golden State relied on its defense.
The Warriors held Utah scoreless for more than the first four minutes of the game, and ultimately to an offensive rating of 100.8 points per 100 possessions, more than six points fewer than the Jazz’s regular season number. Utah shot just 31 percent from three. People seemed to forget that Golden State’s defense was 1.6 points per 100 better than Utah this season, but they won’t after Game 1.
That defense led to 29 transition points from the Warriors, which led to a fast start and eventually a comfortable 106-94 Warriors win over the Jazz Tuesday night. The Warriors now lead the series 1-0 with Game 2 on Thursday at Oracle.
It was a dominant performance from the Warriors, and the game posed a lot of questions for the Jazz they are not going to be able to answer. Utah defended the arc well, but Golden State pulled Rudy Gobert out on the perimeter and that left the paint open for backdoor cuts and more easy baskets for the Warriors. It also led to this.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson each had 17.
Gobert led the Jazz with 13, while Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood each had a dozen (although Hayward took 14.
It was a classic Warriors game in the sense that they played good defense most of the time, then relied on wild offensive runs to pull away. Utah did a good job trying to take away the three ball (again, the Warriors weren’t great from deep) but Golden State countered with backdoor cuts and other plays to get buckets inside. That plus the transition buckets was enough offense that the Warriors were putting up numbers despite a pace slower than they would have liked.
While the Golden State stars were good, when the team really took control of the game was runs at the start of the second and fourth quarters — when it was the Warriors’ bench in the game. It’s also when the Jazz sat Gobert and Hayward, leaving Utah struggling on both ends.
For Utah, there are things they can tighten up defensively for Game 2 — transition comes to mind — but if they don’t find a way to get some consistent offense this is going to be a short series. And the Warriors defense is not going to make getting buckets easy.