Realistically, did anyone expect the Utah Jazz to upset the Golden State Warriors

After Thursday night, the Jazz fell into a 2-0 hole that they’re unlikely to crawl out of. Neither loss has been a complete blowout. Golden State won by 12 in the first game and 11 in the second. Regardless, it’s clear they have too much talent on both ends for the Jazz to handle. Since we’re on that basis, Utah’s problem is a problem that 25 other teams in the NBA have.

Cleveland, San Antonio, Houston and Boston are the only four squads who match up well against Golden State. If we’re going player-for-player, the Cavaliers are pretty much the only other team in the league who has the star power to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors. Outside of Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, Utah doesn’t have much offense and center is the only position where they have an edge.

Golden State is even more deadly because of their passing, and, despite having four All-NBA players, talent isn’t enough to win games. They know this. Everyone knows this. To counteract that, the exude a level of unwavering trust in each other that we don’t see so often. Their unselfishness coupled with their ability to execute looks to be too much for the Jazz.

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The Warriors have made 82-of-167 shots from the field which is an incredible clip of 49.1 percent. Want to know something more incredible? They’ve assisted on 65 of those shots — sixty-five. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are all averaging six assists a night while Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson are at 4.5 and 4.0, respectively. When players of their caliber are moving the ball so efficiently, it’s going to take an all-time great defense to slow them down, and that’s something the Jazz just don’t have.

By no means is the series over. Thursday would’ve been a winnable contest for Utah if they didn’t play such a dreadful first quarter. For the games to be close for a full 48, Quin Snyder’s going to need a third (and even a fourth) guy to step up and produce at a career-best rate.

Curry (22.5), Durant (21.0), Green (19.0) and Thompson (14.5) are the Warriors four leading scorers, and Curry and Green are getting their buckets with radical efficiency. Thompson’s been good at 46.5 percent, but Durant’s been way worse than we’ve ever seen him (43.3). If he finds his groove before anyone else on the Jazz does, it’s, erm, well… yeah.

Hayward exploded for 33 points on Thursday, bringing his average up to 22.5. Gobert’s second with 14.5, but him not being able to create his shots is an issue for the Jazz. Rodney Hood, Shelvin Mack and Joe Johnson are the next three in the scoring column at 10.0, 10.0 and 9.5. Over the last two regular seasons, Hood’s averaged 13.7 points while Mack’s at 9.5. Statistically, Mack is already out-performing himself, but he’s capable of doing more, and he showed it after getting traded to the Jazz in 2015-16.

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Golden State’s defense plays a part in the reduced numbers, and they’ve been able to suffocate Johnson more than anyone else. Against the Clippers in the first round, he looked like his old self and averaged 15.7 points in the seven games. Moreover, he nailed 48.4 percent of his shots, and that was with a weak clip of 33.3 percent from three.

The intriguing part about the Warriors dominance is that they haven’t totally dictated the pace of the game. Basketball Reference estimates 95.7 possessions a game, which is right in the middle of where both teams play. Utah was last in the league, and Golden State was fourth. But it’s evident the Warriors can play either way because they have the personnel. Utah doesn’t.

Their guards are good athletes, as is Gobert, but Boris Diaw and Joe Ingles aren’t. And, yes, those two are huge for their success. According to, Diaw’s plus/minus of plus-2.6 (per game) is Utah’s highest among those averaging 10 minutes a night. Ingles is plus-0.3, and he’s third. George Hill is sandwiched in the middle, and he didn’t play Thursday because of a nagging toe injury. His absence is something in-and-of itself. Hill didn’t play well in the first game and had only seven points, four boards and three assists. Despite that, he had his best season to date and served as the complement to Hayward against the Clippers. His status for the rest of the series is unknown, but it’ll be a different series if he’s able to come back.

As we speak, both teams are getting ready to play the next two in Utah, and I’m sure Matt Barnes is still upset about the lack of nightlife. If the Dubs can steal one on the road, it’s likely over because they’ll need to win just one more game at Oracle. On the flip side, there’s the chance the home crowd adds some life to those who haven’t been playing well for Utah, and the Warriors might have an issue if that happens.

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