Golden State Warriors vs Utah Jazz: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/10/18
The Warriors finally conclude their regular-season schedule with a tough trip to Salt Lake City to face the in-form Jazz.
After back-to-back losses to the Pacers and Pelicans, the Golden State Warriors (58-23)got back on track with a 117-100 win over the Phoenix Suns. Klay Thompson led the way with 34 points, including 19 straight points in the first quarter. Kevin Durant had a relatively quiet 17 points although he chipped in with nine assists. Draymond Green and Quinn Cook both added 14 points, respectively. Head coach Steve Kerr, who had been critical of his team’s performances in their recent losses, was much more pleased with their effort on defense as they kept an under-manned Suns team in check.
The Warriors will end their regular season in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz (47-33), who will enter the playoffs in quite a roll. They picked up their fifth win in a row with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Of those five straight wins, four have been by double figures. Rookie Donovan Mitchell had another outstanding game with 28 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as the Jazz wings went riot against the Lakers. Joe Ingles had 22 points and ten assists while Jae Crowder and Royce O’Neale combined for 33 points off the bench.
Three keys to the game
Home-court advantage – The Jazz have been imposing wherever they’ve played for the past three months, but they still enjoy a significant home-court advantage. They made that advantage count when they absolutely humiliated the Warriors by 30 the last time they played in Salt Lake City back in January.
Revenge factor – Apart from that humiliating loss in SLC, the Jazz also beat up on a shorthanded Warriors team by 19 points a couple weeks ago in Oakland. But with Golden State pretty much at full strength (sans Curry), look for them to play their A-game and get revenge on the Jazz for those two bad defeats.
Playoff feel – This is the Warriors’ last assignment before heading into the postseason. They will probably want to send a message to the rest of the league against the Jazz, who have been one of, if not the best team in the league over the last few months.
Matchup to watch
Klay Thompson vs Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell has been close to unstoppable for basically his entire rookie year as he’s consistently dropped 20-point games on opponents. However, he’ll be up against one of the premier perimeter defenders in the game in Klay Thompson, who will at least make him work for his points. Meanwhile, Klay showed with his 19 consecutive points against the Suns that he’ll take some stopping himself.
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG – Quinn Cook | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green| C – Zaza Pachulia
Jazz projected starting lineup
PG – Ricky Rubio | SG – Donovan Mitchell | SF – Joe Ingles | PF – Derrick Favors | C – Rudy Gobert
Thompson has been on quite a roll offensively since returning from a broken thumb. He’s averaging 22.7 points on 51 percent shooting in his last six games. He racked up 27 in his last meeting against the Jazz and should have sights set on putting together a similarly impressive night.
Meanwhile, Joe Ingles remains an intriguing fantasy option for the Jazz given how well he’s been playing. He had a terrific 22-point, ten-assist double-double against the Lakers, upping his average to 14 points and eight assists per game over his last ten. In his last meeting with the Warriors, Jingles dropped 14 points, six boards, and eight assists with a couple of steals to boot.
The Warriors will be huge seven-point road underdogs in Salt Lake City, which just goes to show how well the Jazz have been playing. However, that feels like too big a line for a team that still features three All-Stars, including former MVP Kevin Durant. Take the Warriors to cover the spread on the road.
The Warriors make a statement in their regular-season finale as they cool off the Jazz on the road, 107-102.
This game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet – Rocky Mountain and NBC Sports Bay Area. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm Eastern.