Basketball is a game of inches — and the Utah Jazz found out the difficult way on Sunday night.

Despite trailing by eight points at the end of the third quarter, the Jazz rallied back and had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds. Unfortunately, Bojan Bogdanovic’s three-point attempt was just off the mark — literally — and Royce O’Neale’s tip-in attempt hung on the rim for an eternity before missing.

The result was a 94-92 defeat to Golden State.

Even with the loss and chaotic ending, head coach Quin Snyder was nothing but positive for his team postgame, complimenting on how hard they played and those frantic final seconds.

“It wasn’t the most well-played game, there were missed shots, but I thought both teams really, really competed and battled,” Snyder said. “I thought we really competed.”

As for the game’s final play, Snyder was content trusting his veteran team to play out the last nine seconds rather than call a timeout to set something up. Not only would a timeout have allowed the league’s best defense to reset, but not calling one allowed Utah to extort mismatches and stay within the game’s rhythm.

“Very happy. … Not second-guessing that one,” Snyder said of the ending. “Bojan Bogdanovic is as clutch a player as there is. … Probably got a better look than if we’d drawn something up. And we got a rebound attempt, too.”

It was an unfortunate ending for Gobert, who missed the final 2:30 of the game with a strained left calf. He was instrumental in Utah’s fourth quarter comeback, forcing multiple turnovers at the rim by his mere presence alone.

Even while playing his signature defense, Gobert continued to show his evolution on the offensive end as he notched his league-high 35th double-double. He finished with 12 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, and one steal. After a slow start, Gobert finished the second half with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

“I think it’s just a strain,” Gobert said of his calf. “I’ve never really had that before, so I don’t know. It’s hard for me to tell how many games or how long it will take to heal, but I don’t think it’s anything bad.”

With Donovan Mitchell still out due to being in the concussion protocol, Bogdanovic again rose to the occasion as Utah’s No. 1 option on offense.

He finished with a game-high 21 points, adding in eight rebounds. While he struggled shooting the ball against Golden State’s length and athleticism, Bogdanovic did an excellent job of not settling for shots. Instead, he consistently attacked the rim and was rewarded with a 6-for-7 showing from the free throw line.

Rudy Gay led a very spirited effort from the bench tonight, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, and a team-high +12 rating. He shot 5-of-8 from the floor and 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, showing his offensive skillset that allows the Jazz to stretch the floor.

“We’ve been through a lot this last month,” Gay said of being shorthanded. We’re still going through a lot. Everybody’s been out for a little bit. … But we’ve been competitive almost every single night.”

Utah got off to a hot start and 13-8 lead thanks to two early three-pointers by Mike Conley. But Golden State went on a 9-0 run to eventually take a 33-29 advantage at the end of the first.

The Warriors appeared poised to run away with the game after extending their lead to 10 early in the second, but Gay had other ideas. He scored eight points as the Jazz went on an 11-2 run to close the gap.

Utah took the lead late in the quarter following five straight points by Eric Paschall, but Golden State responded with four quick points of their own. The Jazz trailed 55-54 at the break.

The Warriors are the best third quarter team in the NBA, and it showed as they jumped out to an 11-point lead midway through. Once again, Utah battled back to head into the fourth trailing 83-75.

The Jazz started the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run as stellar defense by Gobert combined with precise ball movement on offense made the difference. The two teams would battle back and forth the rest of the way until the drama unfolded in the final 10 seconds.

“I really thought that ball was going in,” Bogdanovic said. “And then we got the offensive rebound that didn’t go in. … Just unlucky. I really thought it was the game-winner.”

Paschall and Trent Forrest were also bright spots off the bench, helping make up for the absence of Mitchell and Hassan Whiteside.

Forrest finished with nine points and was much more active on offense than in previous games. He was attacking the rim and constantly getting into the paint, either putting the ball up or kicking out to an open man. But where he shined was defensively, finishing with a team-high four steals while providing excellent defense on Steph Curry.

Paschall, the former Warrior, finished with six points and three rebounds but was also very good defensively. His energy and activeness gave the Warriors fits and allowed the Jazz to get out and run when possible.

Utah has less than 24 hours to recover as they travel to face the first-place Phoenix Suns on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST.


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