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SALT LAKE CITY — Bojan Bogdanovic thought it was going in. He thought that as the ball left his hand, and as it flew through the air, and as it rolled on the rim.
"I really thought it was the game winner,"
That is, at least, until it rolled off.
Utah was oh so close to stealing one in Golden State Sunday.
It was a struggle at times for Utah — evidenced by the 17 points the team scored in the fourth quarter — but in the closing seconds, the Jazz somehow had a chance at the win.
Bogdanovic, who seconds before had hit a corner 3-pointer to cut the Warriors' lead to two, stepped back and had a clean look from 3-point range for the win; it just rolled off.
It wasn't over, yet, though.
Royce O'Neale came barreling in and tipped the ball up onto the rim. The ball hung there for a moment before falling off to allow the Warriors to escape with a 94-92 win.
"I really thought that ball was going in. And then we got the offensive rebound that didn't go in. Just unlucky," Bogdanovic said.
Or maybe the Jazz's luck had finally run out.
In Steph Curry's illustrious career, he's only had six games in which he took at least 20 shots and made five or less. One of those came on Sunday.
Curry finished 5 of 20 from the field and 1 of 13 from 3-point range. If you were to watch a montage of Curry's 3s, you'd see a lot of open shots. So while the Jazz's defensive in the second half deserves some credit, a lot of it was Curry, arguably the greatest shooter in league history, who couldn't find the range.
"It wasn't the most well-played game, there were missed shots, but I thought both teams really, really competed and battled," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
That summed up the night well. In the fourth quarter alone, the two usually high-scoring teams combined for just 28 points.
It was a slugfest. The officials allowed a bunch of contact, which resulted in Bogdanovic having to limp his way to the finish with a knee contusion after a collision, and may have had something to do with Rudy Gobert not finishing the game due to a strained calf.
Bogdanovic had 21 points and eight rebounds and Gobert finished with 12 points and 18 rebounds.
Utah allowed just 11 points in the fourth quarter to help climb its way out of a double-digit hole. The Jazz went on a 20-4 run between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to take a short-lived lead. Utah held Golden State scoreless for nearly five minutes to start the final period.
The Jazz, though, weren't much better. Between the 8:45 and 0:32 marks of the fourth quarter, the Jazz scored 3 points; that's not good.
The reason was pretty clear: Donovan Mitchell was out as he continues to recover from a concussion.
Without their go-to scorer, the Jazz's fourth quarter offense collapsed. It's hard to run set plays against switching defense, and Utah didn't have anyone that could beat a mismatch. Throw in the fact the spacing suffered due to Trent Forrest having to play big minutes, and, well, it wasn't a huge surprise things sputtered out at the end.
Actually, the bigger surprise was that Utah's defense kept them in the game with how things were going offensively.
Bogdanovic hit a corner 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to break the long dry spell and to give Utah new life. That cut the lead to 2 and the Jazz got a stop on the other end, giving them the last possession. Instead of taking a timeout, Snyder had the team push in transition, hoping to get a clean look that way. It ended with Bogdanovic in isolation and taking a stepback 3-pointer. Snyder said he'd make the same choice again.
"Bojan Bogdanovic is as clutch a player as there is in this league," Snyder said. "... We get a timeout and draw something up and probably not get as good a look as we got — as evidenced by the fact that it was in and out and we also got a chance to rebound it. Their defense wasn't set, so not second guessing that one."