The Golden State Warriors know a thing or two about blowing out opponents.
So maybe Warriors head coach Steve Kerr saw it coming Saturday night as he assessed the Utah Jazz during his pregame remarks to reporters.
“They’ve been good for a long time,” Kerr said. “The continuity is apparent right away. They all know each other so well. They execute their stuff beautifully.
“… They’re where we were 3-4 years ago.”
Whether the Jazz have what it takes to win it all, as the Warriors did then, is a question for later this year. But the Jazz (12-4) looked like one of the NBA’s elite on Saturday, winning their league-best eighth straight game, a 127-108 blowout of Golden State.
In a wire-to-wire victory, the Jazz drained 20 triples, outscored the Warriors in the paint, and won both the transition and rebounding battles.
Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
“We just continue to get better each and every game,” said center Derrick Favors, who had nine points and eight rebounds to help the Jazz bench outscore Golden State’s 53-47. “We’re playing for something, fighting for a playoff spot. Just keep getting better each and every game. I think it’s coming along great.”
For Golden State, guard Stephen Curry had a game-high 24 points while moving into second place on the NBA’s all-time 3-pointers made leaderboard.
“We want to defend collectively,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “They’re a difficult team to guard. Steph is probably one of the most difficult players to guard [in the league] if not one of the top 2-3. He’s so good and puts pressure on you in so many ways. I think our guys are seeing it collectively. It’s not one guy’s job. Everyone has a job to do and they try to take pride in that on every possession.”
Utah never trailed in this game. Royce O’Neale hit a 3-pointer early in the first (one of three 3s he drained in the quarter) to help his team to a 14-0 start.
Curry and Andrew Wiggins each had 10 points in the first to keep the Warriors close, but the Jazz still led 39-30 after one quarter.
The Jazz kept pilling on from there.
Favors’ tip-in put the team up 21, 60-39, with about 4:30 to play in the first half. When Mitchell drained a 27-footer just before time expired in the half, Utah’s lead stood at 30. With 10:44 to play, Jordan Clarkson hit a turnaround jumper that made it a 40-point game.
“We’re a confident team and we’re confident in the style we play,” Joe Ingles said. “… When we’re going on both ends, we’re a tough team to play against.”
Snyder emptied his bench not long after that, letting his starters rest as the team cruised to its eighth straight win.
“It’s OK to feel good about how we’re playing, but it’s a long season ahead,” Snyder said after the game. “It’s a marathon. I just want us to stay steady. Not too high, not too low. The fact that we’re playing well right now is a good thing. But the challenge is to continue to play well. That’s what we’re looking at.”
| Don: 23p | 7r | 6a | 3 3pm
Mike: 17p | 5 3pm | 3s | 1a
JC: 14p | 2r | 1a | 1s
Bojan: 13p | 8a | 7r | 3 3pm
Rudy: 14r | 11p | 2a | 1b
Joe: 13p | 3 3pm | 3a | 1b
Royce: 9p | 4r | 3a | 3 3pm
Georges: 7p | 4r#podiumpostgame | @PodiumHQ pic.twitter.com/fEH1kGLdt8
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) January 24, 2021
Bojan Bogdanovic flirted with a triple-double on Saturday. The Croatian sharpshooter had 14 points (three 3-pointers), seven rebounds, and a career-high eight assists. Afterward, Bogdanovic wasn’t trying to take much credit for his passing.
“We were just hitting the 3s early in the game,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the extra passes that we had early in the game. It’s not much about me.”
Entering Saturday night, Warriors guard Stephen Curry needed four triples to pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for the second-most 3-point makes in NBA history.
“He’s changed the game tremendously,” Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson said of Curry. “He’s changed the NBA. He’s one of the best shooters that I’ve ever seen play. You have to respect what he does.”
Ray Allen (2,973) owns the top spot on the leaderboard.
“What defines Steph is his ability to hit 3s either on the dribble or with all his movement,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s where he and Ray Allen are most alike. Steph and Ray, in my mind, are the two greatest in terms of the diversity of their 3-pointers.”
Former Jazzman Kyle Korver (2,450) is in fourth place on the all-time leader board.
• The Jazz entered the night with the NBA’s third-ranked defense, though coach Quin Snyder said he wasn’t too focused on rankings at this point in the season.
“The one rating I would like to be is first,” Snyder said. “But we’re not there yet.”
• Rookie guard Nico Mannion, son of former Jazz forward and broadcaster Pace Mannion, has earned the respect of his coach since being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft.
“Even though he’s a two-way guy, watching him every day he is one of our best passers,” Kerr said. “I can’t wait to play Nico more as the season goes on.”
First, though, Kerr said Mannion will get extended run with Golden State’s G League team in the Orlando Bubble.
“It will be important for him to play big minutes there,” Kerr said. “That’s the plan.”
The Jazz will be looking for a little payback when the New York Knicks visit Vivint Arena on Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.