After barely losing to the Golden State Warriors 106- 103 last Monday night, the Utah Jazz are now tied with the Toronto Raptors in coming the closest to ending the Warriors win streak.
The Toronto Raptors also came with three points, losing 112-109 just this past week. The Los Angeles Clippers came within four points losing 112-108. Early in the year the Toronto Raptors came within just five points losing 115-110.
These three teams are the closest anyone has come to ending the streak. Most of their other games have been complete blowouts. So for the Jazz to come this close says a lot about their team.
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The Week That Was
The Jazz had five players Monday night against the Golden State Warriors who scored in double digits. Leading the band was Gordon Hayward with 24 points, and Derrick Favors was right behind him with 23 points.
Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert had an excellent night on the boards with Rudy pulling down 11 and Favors with 10 rebounds.
As a team Utah had an outstanding nine steals on the Warriors. The Jazz played excellent but just couldn’t contain the great Stephen Curry. Curry knocked down a couple clutch 3-pointers and free-throws to clinch the game for the Warriors.
The Jazz have no reason to hang their heads after Monday night, they proved that they could keep up with the best in the NBA.
The Jazz really missed their big man Rudy Gobert, who is out with a sprained MCL on Thursday night. The Jazz lost to the Orlando Magic 103-94. Rudy is a huge part of the defense and Utah is going to have to figure out how to adapt without him.
Head Coach Quinn Snyder said after the game, “Our defense is different [without Rudy]. We weren’t as aggressive. I just didn’t feel like we were as engaged defensively as we needed to be from the get-go.”
Gordon Hayward had 24 points on the night. Derrick Favors had another great night defensively with 10 rebounds.
The Jazz figured out the defensive situation enough to beat the Indiana Pacers 122-119 in overtime on Saturday night. Derrick Favors led the Jazz scoring a career high 35 points while pulling down 13 rebounds.
Trevor Booker also had an excellent defensive night grabbing 14 rebounds. As a team, the Jazz had 63 rebounds on the night. Paul George was a sight to see on Saturday for the Indiana Pacers.
He led his team with 48 points and had eight rebounds and three steals. It was a scrappy game, the two team together shot 55 free-throws. The Jazz made them when it counted though in the last minuets of the game to hold on for the win.
The game ball this week is going to go to Gordan Hayward. Derrick Favors was an extremely close second with his 35 points Saturday. Gordon Hayward is becoming more of a consistent leader on the Jazz which is what they need from him right now.
He led the team in points against the Warriors and Magic this week. He was second in scoring on Saturday night with 22 points.
In December he has already made more 3-pointers than he did the whole month of October, so he continues to improve. He is shooting 44 percent from behind the arc in December so far.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday night the Jazz will travel to Sacramento to square off with the Sacramento Kings (7-15). The Kings have lost three in a now now and will be looking to stop that streak.
On paper, the Jazz should win this game. They are still working things out on defense missing Rudy Gobert, so that will be a challenge.
Utah comes back home Wednesday night to face the New York Knicks (10-12). This should be a good match-up. The Knicks are a very similar team to the Jazz.
They are good on defense and holding teams to not score a lot and but don’t have a lot of fire power on offense. So whoever can produce more offense and momentum should come out with the win.
Friday night Utah will face the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-8) again in Salt Lake City and then travel to Oklahoma to face them again Sunday night. The Jazz will be looking to win back some pride in this game seeing as how they embarrassingly lost 111-89 last time at home.
The Thunder, like always, have a very good team and it these will be a hard fought games if the Jazz end up with any wins.
The Oklahoma City Thunder continue to lead the Northwest division. The Jazz continue to be right behind the Thunder just two games behind.
They again have another chance to slim down the lead as they play them Friday and Sunday night. The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves are tied, both four games behind the Thunder.
The Denver Nuggets are now in last place just four-and-a-half games behind Oklahoma City.
Stat of the Week
Gordon Hayward has scored more than 200 points more every season he has been in the NBA expect between his first and second season.
If he keeps that up he would be on a pace to score about 1663 points this season. Last year he set his career high of averaging 19.3 points a season. He right now is averaging 18.6 points a game.
He started out in a slump and has been getting better and better since the season began. So if he keeps it up he will be able to beat his career high of averaging 19.3 points a game by the end of the season.