What we learned as Warriors surge past Jazz, get back to .500 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay area
SAN FRANCISCO – The intentions were honest, the effort commendable and the outcome no less than amazing considering the greatly diminished state of the Warriors.
With Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson watching from the bench, Golden State mined every ounce of pluck and just enough firepower to post a 112-107 victory over the Utah Jazz at a sellout crowd (18,064) Wednesday night at Chase Center.
The win put the Warriors (18-18) back at .500 for the first time since Dec. 13.
Five Warriors scored in double figures, with Jordan Poole’s 26 points leading the way. Donte DiVincenzo added 19, Ty Jerome 17, Patrick Baldwin Jr. 11 and Anthony Lamb 10.
Here are three observations from Golden State’s fourth consecutive home victory:
Scrappiest performance yet
They trailed by 10 after nine minutes, were decisively outshot through the first three quarters and didn’t see another lead until Jerome drilled a triple, making it 104-101 with 5:18 remaining.
Despite playing uphill after the first seven minutes, the Warriors rarely showed any visible frustration and never showed the slightest sign of resignation.
Their persistence paid off.
The rotation in shambles, the Warriors deployed patchwork lineups and somehow made it work.
Credit the defense, led by Draymond Green, which held to Utah to 13 points on 4-of-25 shooting over the final 12 minutes.
The final five minutes were about as gripping as any this season, with the crowd hanging on every possession. Despite Utah’s attempts to regain the lead, the Warriors stayed in front the rest of the way.
Some teams present tougher matchups than others, and the Jazz are such a team for the Warriors.
The average height of Utah’s starting frontcourt – Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk and Jarred Vanderbilt – is 6-foot-11. The average height of Golden State’s starters – Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Anthony Lamb – is 6-foot-7.
It’s not simply the size, though. It’s the combination of size, skill and mobility that presented problems. On offense, drives into the paint were easily snuffed. On defence, the Warriors had difficulty bothering the Jazz.
Nobody benefited more than 7-foot small forward Lauri Markkanen, who navigated a few open looks but also used his length to shoot over most any defender in his space. He finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting from the field, including 7-of-13.
This team poses particularly thorny challenges for the Warriors, especially when they’re not at full strength. No matter. They overcome all disadvantages on this night.
PBJ gets significant minutes
Patrick Baldwin Jr. made his 10th NBA appearance but his first in the heat of competition.
The rookie made a positive impact.
When Jonathan Kuminga picked up his third foul, with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter and the Warriors trailing by nine, coach Steve Kerr summoned the Baldwin from the end of the bench.
PBJ did better than might be expected under the circumstances. He played the remainder of the half, scoring six points, on 2-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, while also grabbing three rebounds.
When Kuminga got in foul trouble again in the fourth quarter, Kerr turned to Baldwin once more and was rewarded five points in six minutes. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep.
Given his role in a stirring comeback, PBJ will remember this for the rest of his career.