The Triple Team: 3 thoughts on Jazz at Warriors

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OAKLAND — Three thoughts on the Jazz's 103-85 loss to the Golden State Warriors from's Utah Jazz writer, Andy Larsen.

1. The Warriors are just so good

Golden State, which now moves to 27-1 on the season, was just so effective on both sides of the ball tonight to defeat the Jazz.

On offense, Golden State is probably the best offense of all time. Stephen Curry wasn't necessarily on his shooting game tonight, but he created good looks for his teammates, and importantly spaced the floor for Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to do their thing. The Jazz played good defense, but ultimately gave up too much in transition due to their offense's turnovers.

On defense, the Warriors were so good at preventing the Jazz from getting easy looks. Clearly, Green and company scouted the Jazz after the close call at the end of November, and so frequently, they saw a couple of moves ahead of whatever the Jazz wanted to do.

One problem teams have in practice is that frequently, the defense knows exactly what pass the offense wants to do, and kind of "cheats" the play. The result is a bundle of turnovers, and some messy play on the practice floor that doesn't always mimic what happens in real games. Sometimes, coaches deal with this by instructing the defense to back off, but that's obviously not a possibility during games. The long-term solution is to insert counters into an offense, so that even if the defense jumps the read, the team takes advantage of the resulting opening.

It kind of felt like the Warriors' played defense like the Jazz's practice squad might. They slid perfectly with the Jazz's screens and dribble handoffs, saw the Jazz's drive-and-kicks coming, and contested the looks without fouling inside and out. It was super well done.

Of course, the Warriors had the NBA's best defense last season, so this is perhaps the highest degree of difficulty that the Jazz can face. But in a potential playoff series against any team, it will be interesting to see if the Jazz can adapt to a high level of scouting that comes against repeated matchups.

2. Hayward's bad game

Gordon Hayward shot just 2-15 tonight, exactly 1-7 on contested looks and 1-8 on uncontested ones. Obviously, usually he's a better shooter, but tonight, he didn't make enough of his looks. Here's Hayward's blood-red shooting chart:

The Triple Team: 3 thoughts on Jazz at Warriors

Yes, Golden State's defense was great, and did a great job shutting down the Jazz's scheme. In those cases, the Jazz would ideally get more from their stars, making difficult shots in the face of good defense with their skill. Hayward does frequently bail out the Jazz's offense, but he didn't do so tonight.

Hayward did get 8 rebounds, though, so it's not all bad. One of Hayward's best characteristics is his ability to contribute despite missing shots, something that some stars don't always do. It's nice to see, and limits his downside.

3. Jazz played good defense without Gobert

One encouraging aspect of tonight's game for the Jazz, and really, both matchups against the Warriors, is that they were able to play good defense against the best offense around. That's without Rudy Gobert, and the Jazz struggled without him defensively for at least the first few games of his absence.

In particular, the Jazz were pretty good on both contesting the Warriors at the rim and defending the three-point line. At the rim, the Jazz allowed GSW to shoot just 42 percent when the team was defending the rim. Special credit goes to Derrick Favors, who allowed 6-15, but everyone on the team helped out, including the wings.

Allowing the Warriors to shoot just 23 3-point shots was nice to see too, well off of their average of nearly 31 attempts per game. The Warriors also got to the free throw line just 16 times, generally, they average 24 FTAs per game.

In other words, the Jazz did a good job of taking the Warriors' most efficient shots away from them. They're just so good that they made a great deal of the shots anyway. See, for example, the 100% mark from the free throw line: that's a great example of what kind of shooters the Warriors feature.

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