After setting the NBA record for most victories in a calendar year with 76, Utah looked to get 2022 started the same way 2021 ended.

In a battle between two of the top teams in the league, the Jazz couldn’t hang on late and fell 123-116 to visiting Golden State on Saturday night. The loss ended Utah’s six-game winning streak.

“I thought we got a little tired late,” head coach Quin Snyder said postgame. “They were physical with us. Even when the game is late, we have to continue to run and space the floor and continue to try and attack in space.”

Utah knew it would face an uphill climb against the top team in the league.

The Warriors entered Saturday coming off three full days of rest after their Thursday matchup with Denver was postponed due to health and safety protocols within the Nuggets organization.

Meanwhile, Utah picked up a hard-fought victory over a pesky Minnesota squad last night, but it came at a price. Both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert played 36+ minutes while Jordan Clarkson added 31 minutes — which could’ve led to the team getting tired late in the game.

Gobert was sensational against the smaller Warriors — especially without Draymond Green. He was able to take advantage of his size and physicality with 20 points, 19 rebounds, and two assists for his 30th double-double of the season.

The Jazz found the most success when their guards were able to break down the Warriors at the point of attack and get into the lane, forcing Golden State’s Kevon Looney to either stop the person with the ball or prevent Gobert from receiving the lob. Gobert finished a +10 rating, the only Utah player to record a positive rating in the game.

One night after dropping a season-high 39 points, Mitchell struggled from the floor shooting the ball. He finished with 20 points but shot 4-of-19 from the field and 2-for-9 from the arc. He credited Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II with doing a good of defending him on the night.

Although he didn’t shoot the ball to his standards, Mitchell did an excellent job getting his teammates involved and not letting his struggles impact other parts of his game. He finished with a game-high nine assists, adding six rebounds and two steals for good measure.

Despite the challenging game last night, the Jazz started the game well and kept up with the well-rested Warriors.

Mitchell came out attacking the rim early on, netting eight points in the quarter, with five coming from the free throw line. But Otto Porter Jr., starting in place of Green, had the hot hand early with 11 points, giving Golden State a 29-24 lead after one.

After the Warriors extended their lead to 12 with just over four to play in the half, Utah responded with a quick 7-0 run as Clarkson began to find his shooting touch. But that was the closest they would get the rest of the half as the Warriors went on a 13-4 run to lead 64-50 at the break.

Whatever Snyder said at the half appeared to work as Utah came out with a vengeance on both ends of the court.

Mitchell was particularly impressive with three assists in the quarter, easily blowing by his defender to find the open man. Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale caught fire with 10 points and two three-pointers apiece.

On the defensive end, the Jazz did an excellent job closing out on Warriors shooters and forcing them to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim where Gobert was waiting. Although he had no blocks in the quarter, he contested multiple shots that caused Golden State to lose its rhythm.

Clarkson’s ended one of Utah’s best quarters of the season with a stepback three-pointer right in Curry’s face to give the Jazz a 91-86 lead heading into the fourth.

But as Snyder mentioned, Utah got a little tired, and when that happens, it’s tough to keep up with a team as talented as the Warriors.

Mike Conley’s three-pointer to open the quarter gave the Jazz their largest lead of the game at 94-86, but the Warriors battled back to take a three-point lead with just over five to play. Bogdanovic knocked down a three-pointer in transition to tie the game at 111 with 2:13 to play, but that was as close as they would get.

“They are always great opportunities when we get to play against the best in the league, especially when we consider ourselves to be in that conversation,” Conley said. “We want to compete against those guys.”

Clarkson and Bogdanovic each added 20. Points while O’Neale finished with 15 points. Conley, who missed last night’s game, added 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Steph Curry dropped a game-high 28 points, with nine assists and six rebounds, while Wiggins chipped in 25 points.

Utah takes its talents east when it begins a five-game road trip on Monday night against New Orleans. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. MST.


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