Lessons from the win over the Jazz

You would have satisfied me that Friday’s Warriors-Jazz recreation in Salt Lake Metropolis was recreation 92 of the season — a playoff contest — not the second of 82 regular-season video games.

The sport was that good, the power was that robust.

And after giving up 81 factors in the first half — bringing the Utah crowd to a fever pitch — the Warriors beat the Jazz 124-123 on Jonas Jerebko’s last-second tip-in.

There’s half a yr left in the NBA schedule, however for the Warriors — and, begrudgingly, for the Jazz, too — Friday’s recreation will possible stand as the recreation of the marketing campaign.

Sure, sir — that was some high-level leisure.

Right here’s what we discovered from the contest that set a excessive bar for 2018-19:

The Swedish Chef can prepare dinner

(AP Photograph/Rick Bowmer) 

I gained’t lie — I didn’t anticipate Jonas Jerebko to be on the courtroom in crunch time of a recreation nearly as good as Friday’s.

And I positive as hell didn’t anticipate him to make the game-winning basket.

Every week in the past, it appeared as if Jerebko was out-of-favor with Warriors coach Steve Kerr. He had performed poorly in the preseason and was dropping enjoying because it progressed. He was the final man off the bench in the Warriors’ preseason finale towards the Lakers in San Jose.

However after Andre Iguodala injured his calf towards the Thunder Tuesday, Jerebko was referred to as into motion and was… high-quality.

Friday, with Iguodala out for the entire recreation, Jerebko was referred to as upon early towards his former group.

He made the most of the minutes, delivering a strong efficiency properly earlier than the last-second heroics.

Draymond on Jonas Jerebko putback: “Forget the win. Forget the game. My favorite part was he started yelling at their bench.” pic.twitter.com/CEDgAFHUVm

— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 20, 2018

The Warriors’ second unit is in search of an id. The final two years, it’s been run by means of David West, however after the huge man’s retirement, issues have grow to be ambiguous.

Jerebko seemed like a strong choice to play that West position — ought to the Warriors need to reprise it — although.

He’ll by no means be a plus defender — 115.2 defensive score in 30 minutes this season — however he’s prepared to scrap beneath the hoop and he has the capacity to knock down an outdoor shot out in a pick-and-pop two-man recreation, one thing that nobody else on the Warriors’ bench can fairly declare.

The put-back ought to give the Swede some confidence — he’s a part of the workforce now — and I’m curious to see if that brings about extra alternatives, Iguodala damage or not. For as out of favor he appeared a short while in the past, Jerebko may simply be the offensive linchpin of the Warriors’ bench going ahead.

This account is now solely a propaganda machine to advertise Jonas Jerebko being “the Swedish Chef”. I would like this on Basketball Reference by the All-Star Recreation.

— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) October 20, 2018

Shaun Livingston is so underrated

Sorry, Jonas, however Livingston was the Warriors’ greatest bench participant on Friday, scoring eight factors, doling out two assists, flattening three rebounds, and facilitating the Warriors’ absolute best group protection by enjoying as each some extent guard and a wing in a super-switchy scheme — in all, Livingston was a plus-15 in the field rating towards the Jazz with an eye-popping plus-34 internet score.

And given the critical questions on the Warriors’ bench, Livingston couldn’t be extra very important.

It won’t look like there’s a bench disaster in Oakland — Jerebko had a very good recreation, at the very least offensively, and the minutes from Alfonzo McKinnie have been constructive. I assume you would think about Kevon Looney a bench participant as properly — he was nice on Friday — although as a member of the Middle Committee, it’s arduous to actually apply his performances to the second unit.

However make no mistake, the Warriors have a problem with their reserves— with or with out an injured Andre Iguodala.

Kerr benched Quinn Prepare dinner for the second half of Friday’s recreation. It was justified — Prepare dinner’s protection has all the time been suspect and the Jazz attacked him early and sometimes. Prepare dinner had a ghastly defensive score of 183 Friday — even when it was a small pattern measurement, that’s unplayable.

Kerr is preserving Jordan Bell on the bench as properly — he doesn’t belief the second-year huge man’s freelancing type at the second.

There aren’t lots of constructive choices to be discovered, and that, paired with the poor play of Klay Thompson as a second-unit anchor, places much more onus on Livingston to be wonderful night time in-night out.

Two video games into the season, he’s been simply that.

Draymond Inexperienced is the greatest defender in the NBA

Draymond Inexperienced reacting to a foul name (or somebody saying he isn’t an All-NBA defender). (Photograph by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Pictures) 

Inexperienced’s offensive recreation continues to be out of types — he had 5 turnovers on Friday — however asking something of him on that finish of the courtroom feels grasping.

He’s that good on the defensive finish proper now.

No offense to Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis, however the prime two contenders to the crown of “NBA’s best defender” have been on the similar courtroom Friday, and whereas Jazz middle and reigning Defensive Participant of the Yr Rudy Gobert had a robust defensive recreation, Inexperienced merely outclassed him.

It was a spellbinding defensive efficiency, via and thru.

The Warriors’ posted a internet score of 26 in the second half of Friday’s recreation, and a lot of that needed to do with Inexperienced’s protection. He had a defensive score of 80 in the second half.

Lots of that success got here with him enjoying middle — one thing Kerr stated he didn’t need to do that yr due to the wear-and-tear. However Kerr busted it out — for quite a lot of causes — in the second half and for respectable stretches, it labored.

In truth, for a two-minute stretch with Inexperienced at middle, the Warriors posted a shutout and a internet score of 116 — it was sufficient to get them again into the recreation.

That clip above (or right here) exhibits simply how unimaginable Inexperienced is as a defender — he’s guarding on the perimeter, taking inventory of all of the motion in actual time whereas making an attempt to pressure a turnover, solely to then abandon his mark, collapse into the paint, overlaying for Kevon Looney, and block an alley-oop try.

That’s not a 7-foot-9 wingspan or insane athletic means — that’s a participant who sees the recreation quicker than anybody else on the courtroom and may anticipate the subsequent transfer and react earlier than it occurs.

You possibly can’t train that sort of basketball IQ — in case you might, Inexperienced can be out of a job. He’s arguably the eighth most bodily gifted participant on the courtroom in the clip above.

And but he dominates it.

Inexperienced felt slighted by not being an NBA All-Protection first-teamer final yr. Whereas I can’t disagree with the voting — Inexperienced turned in a substandard (by his normal) effort final yr — he’s proper that you could’t identify 5 higher defenders than him in the NBA.

He seems out to show that time this yr.

If he retains enjoying at this degree — solely 80 video games to go — it’ll be unattainable to call one higher defender.

Middle is the group’s weakest hyperlink

(AP Photograph/Rick Bowmer) 

Certainly one of the causes Inexperienced was referred to as upon to play middle on Friday was the proven fact that the Warriors didn’t get a lot out of their true facilities, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney, towards Utah.

Jones racked up three fouls early, limiting his enjoying time, however each he and Looney have been merely not defended by Utah middle Rudy Gobert once they have been on offense. The Jazz dared each facilities to do one thing with the acres of area between them and the nearest defender Utah afforded them, and time and time once more, the duo opted handy the ball off to a teammate. The Warriors have been enjoying, in essence, four on 5 when Jones and Looney have been in a half-court set, and towards a group like Utah, that merely gained’t fly.

Therefore Draymond at middle.

(Man, what does that say about Jordan Bell…)

Add in the incontrovertible fact that Jones, particularly, was focused on the defensive finish Friday, as nicely, and you’ve got a weak level on the group’s roster.

And as the O-Ring Concept would recommend, a workforce — regardless of how star-laden — is simply nearly as good as its weakest hyperlink.

I’ll say this — whereas Jones didn’t do a lot to acquit himself on protection, he has was a superb screener. On Friday, he had 5 display assists. The Warriors could be well-served to simplify the actions — extra excessive pick-and-roll, much less movement — when Jones is in the recreation.

Additionally, that approach, we’d get extra of this:

Kevin Durant is inconceivable

(AP Photograph/Rick Bowmer) 

This isn’t new information — however it’s necessary to re-iterate it after a efficiency like the one Durant turned in Friday.

The field rating says that he scored 38 factors, 9 rebounds, seven assists, on 56 % capturing, however that doesn’t inform the story — Durant’s output was a lot extra spectacular than even these spectacular numbers, due to the sheer lunacy of a few of the photographs he made towards the Jazz.

It shouldn’t be this straightforward for anybody.

Add in what I assumed was a stellar defensive recreation as nicely, and you’ve got a efficiency that may overshadow the robust (however not, by his requirements, nice) recreation Stephen Curry had Friday — 31 factors, 5 Three-pointers, eight assists, two steals.

The Jazz are the actual deal

(AP Photograph/Rick Bowmer) 

Choosing Utah to complete second in the Western Convention was the fashionable preseason decide amongst the NBA Intelligencia and whereas sure, the season simply began, it’s exhausting to assume that anybody who pushed that scorching take was improper.

This Jazz workforce appears each bit like a worthy adversary to the Warriors and whereas I might like to see a playoff collection between the two groups, I’m positive the Warriors wouldn’t thoughts avoiding Utah in the postseason.

As a result of not solely do the Jazz have an elite protection, they’ve an offense that — as soon as it will get rolling — is near inconceivable to cease, and a roster that’s as deep and well-constructed as any in the NBA.

Joe Ingles wants a few knee braces and a few rec specs to correctly gown for his recreation. Unassuming dying. pic.twitter.com/r6aicVGhLv

— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) October 20, 2018

Add in a hellacious home-court benefit and Donovan Mitchell’s ascent to superstardom and you’ve got one thing particular in SLC.

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