In what felt like a playoff atmosphere, the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz continued to build a potential rivalry with flaring tempers, and last second heroics.
Former Jazzman Jonas Jerebko, the hero of the night for the Warriors sank an improbable tip in with .03 remaining off of Kevin Durant miss to down the Jazz 124-123. While the Jazz must fare better against the Warriors in the playoffs for this to become a true rivalry, this may very well have been a preview of the Western Conference Finals just two games into the NBA season.
An absurd 47 point second quarter from the Jazz built a double digit lead at halftime, but it wasn’t enough to overcome superstar performances from Durant and Steph Curry who finished with a combined 69 points. Joe Ingles led the Jazz with 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including 7-11 from beyond the arch.
The Jazz scored 38 points on their last 18 possessions of the second quarter. sinking 10 three pointers over the stretch, good for n offensive rating of 211 over the final 6:54 of the half. And yet, ultimately it wasn’t enough to shake the repeat NBA champions.
Donovan Mitchell started the game missing his first four shots, then followed it up by making seven of his next 10, before missing his final nine shots of the game, including an ill-timed three point shot on the Jazz possession that would have given them a four point lead with six seconds remaining. As good as Mitchell has been early in his career, these games are learning opportunities for him to know when to take over, and when to trust his teammates, several of who were better offensive options tonight.
Still, the Jazz showed remarkable growth going toe to toe with the Warriors in a playoff type atmosphere, a performance good enough to beat every other team in the NBA most nights.
The Jazz play again Monday night at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.