What we learned as Warriors left stunned in loss to Jazz originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When the Warriors boarded their flight to Utah on Tuesday, Stephen Curry stayed in the Bay Area. So did Draymond Green. And Andrew Wiggins.
Those absences Wednesday night clearly diminished Golden State’s fan appeal, as well as its chances of beating the surprising Jazz on their own court.
These Warriors came within seconds of making such matters moot, but eventually walked out of Vivint Arena with a 124-123 loss that dropped them back to .500 (13-13).
After taking a 123-119 lead with 13.3 seconds to play, the Warriors had back-to-back empty possessions. Utah completed its comeback when Nickeil Alexander-Walker stole the ball from Jordan Poole with 4.3 seconds left and turned it into a fast-break dunk by Simone Fontecchio to complete the comeback.
Poole scored a season-high-tying 36 points, Jonathan Kuminga put in a season-high 24 and Klay Thompson added 22 as Golden State (14-12) watched its road record drop to 2-11.
Moreover, the loss dropped the Warriors’ record to 1-7 in games decided by five or fewer points.
Here are three observations from a game that featured six lead changes, nine ties and the Warriors failing to finish at least nine layups or dunks:
Persistence pays off . . . almost
The Warriors could have raised the white flag after the middle quarters, during which Utah scored 70 points while shooting 57.4 percent, including 52.6 percent from deep. That was enough to vanquish Golden State’s five-point (35-30) first-quarter advantage and turn it into a nine-point Utah lead entering the fourth.
But there was no sign of surrender. The Warriors dusted themselves off in the fourth quarter and kept coming.
With Poole and Kuminga leading the way, they went on a 17-6 run in a little more than five minutes, erasing a nine-point deficit and taking a 119-117 lead with 2:10 remaining.
The Warriors didn’t fall behind again until Fontecchio’s dunk with 1.4 seconds remaining.
Poole party heating up
In the first half, as the Jazz were trying to establish home-court authority, it was Poole’s offense that kept the Warriors afloat, as he produced 21 points and five assists before intermission.
Though he slowed in the second half as Utah turned its defensive focus toward him, Poole already had pocketed his fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points – his longest such streak of the season.
Poole’s 36 points came on 10-of-23 shooting from the field, including 4-of-11 from deep and 12-of-13 from the line. He also recorded a team-high eight assists.
After an uneven first six weeks, Poole has settled into the season and is playing his best basketball. The Warriors certainly need it.
With James Wiseman returning to the NBA for the first time since Nov. 14, coach Steve Kerr was non-committal on the duration of his stay, other than saying the young center would get minutes against the Jazz.
Wiseman was granted a mere five minutes off the bench, all in the second quarter, and made a relatively modest impact.
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Displaying a bit more intensity than was evident before his seven-game stint with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors, Wiseman submitted three points and two rebounds.
The bad: He was a step late on a second-quarter defensive rotation, allowing Jordan Clarkson clean access to the rim for an easy layup.
The good: Wiseman committed no fouls during his brief appearance.
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