Prior to the game Jazz fans learned that not only would they be without Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and George Hill, but they would also be missing Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward. That meant the Jazz were going into battle with the leagues number one team without four starters and a role player. As Andy Larsen tweeted, the Jazz were missing 88.5 points of production on the offensive end. The writing was on the wall for this to be an ugly one for the Jazz, but it ended up being a fun game.
Jazz inactive list healthy PPG:
Gordon Hayward: 23.1
George Hill: 20.0
Derrick Favors: 16.4
Rodney Hood: 15.7
Alec Burks: 13.3
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 8, 2016
The first quarter was all about the Warriors. They outscored the Jazz 35-17 and created a lead which the Jazz had to chip away at for the rest of the game. The Warriors are the best offensive team in the league because they have versatility at every position, which they used to exploit the Jazz. A majority of the buckets came off open looks as the Warriors made the right play finding the open man.
In the remaining three quarters the Jazz played much better and outscored the Warriors 82-71, but couldn’t overcome the 18-point first quarter deficit. The defensive pressure was better from the bench than we have seen as the Jazz caused the Warriors to turn over the ball 15 times, which led to 23 points. Four of these turnovers came from Joe Ingles steals, who also had a career high 21 points. Ingles was a difference make all night long as he tried to fill the shoes of Hood and Hayward as the scoring force of the wing.
In the fourth quarter the Jazz hustled and with 8:51 left cut the lead to five points. In the end the Warriors made big plays and won the game, but this depleted Jazz team fought hard. It’s hard to play the moral victory hard, but without four of their starters the Utah Jazz held the best offense in the league to an offensive rating of 105.6, which is way below their average of 115.4.
Three Major Takeaways
1. Big Boost For The Confidence Of The Bench
The Jazz’s bench has struggled to produce this year and they stepped up big time tonight. Ingles had a career game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and was a +11. While his shot didn’t fall, Trey Lyles rebounded well and was a +7. Raul Neto came in without playing many minutes this year and played well as well. Hopefully they can draw confidence from this game and begin to produce off the bench once the starters are back.
2. Exum Needs to Dunk
Dante Exum was 1-5 in the restricted area tonight. He was really struggled to finish at the rim lately as his floaters and not falling and he cannot seem to get his layups to fall either. I would like to see some more dunks out of Exum. He has the athleticism to do this and it could take his game to another level.
3. Injuries Are The Worst
It’s beginning to get depressing to write about how injured this Jazz team is. According to ManGamesLost.com, the Jazz are second in total games missed due to injuries, and first in VORP lost to injury. I imagine Hayward and Hood should be back as early as the next game. However with Favors, Hill, and Burks no one really knows when they will be back. Eventually this team has to get healthy and when they do they will be really good. Until then, injuries are the worst.
20 Points, 17 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Block, 8-8 FG, 4-7 FT
Gobert at times looked like one of the best players on the court tonight. He was such a big factor that he actually dictated the match-up and made it so that the Warriors could not go to their “Death Lineup” with Draymond Green at the center that has made them so good. Gobert controlled the glass in the second half and kept the Jazz in the game. Gobert is now averaging 11.6 points, 11.5 rebounds(6th in the league), 2.6 blocks(2nd in the league), and 66.4% field goal percentage (1st in the league).
Play Of The Game
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 9, 2016
FiveThirtyEight.com gave the Jazz a 47% chance to win this game, but that pecentage was never adjusted for the injuries. The Jazz were projected to win 51 games prior to this game, and after the loss FiveThirtyEight still has them at 51 wins with a 96% chance to make the playoffs. If the Jazz can get healthy, they should be looking at a top five seed in the west.