Jazz aim to slow down Warriors
SALT LAKE CITY — Since returning to action in December, Stephen Curry’s shots have been falling at a blistering pace. It’s good news for Golden State and bad news for teams trying to figure out how to slow down the Warriors‘ offense.
Utah is the latest opponent to draw the chore of reigning in Curry when the Jazz host Golden State on Wednesday night. The all-star guard is enjoying his finest shooting season since the 2015-16 campaign when he averaged 30.1 points on 50.4 percent shooting over 79 regular season games.
Over his last eight games, Curry is averaging 27.8 points on 47 percent shooting. As usual, he is doing a ton of damage from the perimeter, hitting at a 44.8 percent clip on outside baskets in December.
Curry scored 20 points in Monday’s 110-93 win over Memphis. His 3-pointer with 7:37 left in the second quarter helped him become just the fifth Warriors player to score 15,000 career regular season points — joining Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Paul Arizin, and Chris Mullin.
“It’s hard to really put it into perspective, to be honest,” Curry said. “We’re still in the moment, still in the journey. Eventually, when it’s all said and done — hopefully, a long time from now — I’ll be able to sit down and really reflect on what that means. Again, it’s beyond my wildest imagination when I was first drafted here what this could all mean.”
Both Curry and Kevin Durant are averaging 28.8 points for the season and Klay Thompson is chipping in 22.4 points per contest. The Warriors (21-10) have benefited from having all three back on the court together, with six wins in the eight games since Curry returned to the lineup.
Keeping up with that trio will be a chore for a Jazz team that’s still working to find some consistency on the offensive end.
Utah (14-17) is enduring a rough December for the second straight year. The Jazz have lost four of their last five games amid one of the NBA’s most grueling slates in the early part of the season. They averaged just 93.0 points on 35.1 percent shooting in losses to Orlando and Houston.
The Jazz showed some progress in rallying late against the Rockets. Donovan Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 23 points, cut Houston’s lead to two when he hit three free throws with 35 seconds remaining. But James Harden secured the win with a step-back three on Houston’s next possession and the Rockets escaped with a 102-97 win.
Utah isn’t making excuses while enduring a brutal slate that’s seen them play a league-high 20 road games through their first 31 contests.
“If we look at it as a stretch, that’s when it starts to get monotonous and starts to get like ‘Man, it’s tough,'” Mitchell told the Deseret News. “We just look at it one game at a time and we thought we would’ve had this one but we have to go and get the next one.”
This is the second meeting of the season between the Jazz and the Warriors. Golden State edged Utah 124-123 in the Jazz home opener on October 19th.
Utah got 27 points from Joe Ingles in the first meeting, but could not overcome 38 points on 14-of-25 shooting from Durant. Former Jazz player Jonas Jerebko sealed the win for the Warriors with a tip-in basket with 0.3 seconds left.